What is a bomb cyclone? - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

What is a bomb cyclone?

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A record breaking storm known as a bomb cyclone is making its way up the east coast.  

But what is a bomb cyclone?

It sounds dangerous, and it can be.  In the meteorological sense though, bomb cyclones are not unusual.  They are low pressure systems rapidly intensifying.  

UW Madison meteorology professor, Jonathan Martin, explains in a Buzzfeed article that for weeks, the eastern half of the US has been locked in a weather pattern where it’s been continually blasted by cold arctic air. The contrast between that cold air over land and the warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, along with the interaction of another weather system higher in the atmosphere, were all key ingredients in forming this fast-growing storm along the east coast.  

He noted that these types of storms are normal though.  Martin said, about 10 of these cyclones occur across the northern hemisphere every year.  

The storm is making for rough travel conditions up and down the east coast, especially because some of those areas are not used to seeing snow.  Northern Florida got snow for the first time in 30 years.  

Thursday, blizzard warnings are in effect from Virginia to Maine.  Meteorologists are predicting New England could get six to twelve inches of snow and some areas could see wind speeds faster than Super Storm Sandy.  

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