East Coast Storm: A “Bomb Cyclone” is Underway

For so long, we only heard, “Winter is coming,” wondering what it really means.

This season sheds a new light, and we now understand winter’s severity as a record-breaking snowstorm hits heavily throughout the East Coast.

The storm has caused dozens of schools to close, hundreds of flights to cancel, and power outage for more than 80,000 residents. Some forecasters have referred to it as a “bomb cyclone” for its drastic drop in atmospheric pressure (at least 24 millibars in 24 hours). The New York Times explains the cause of impact as a collision between different temperature fronts:

Deep drops in barometric pressure occur when a region of warm air meets one of cold air. The air starts to move, and the rotation of the earth creates a cyclonic effect. The direction is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere (when viewed from above), leading to winds that come out of the northeast…

The same article details the health concerns that hospitals face daily. From the account of a doctor in Atlanta, the cold weather has caused some patients’ body temperature to fall dangerously lower than the normal 98.6 degrees. Other people who arrived to the hospital displayed symptoms for emphysema and asthma that appeared aggravated by the weather.

Governors Terry McAuliffe (Virginia), Nathan Deal (Georgia), and Roy Cooper (North Carolina) declared a state of emergency for their respective states. The storm will pick up in the Northwest through Massachusetts and Rhode Island; New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut will get wind chills as low as -25 degrees in the upcoming days.

While officials at both the local and state levels prepare to address the “bomb cyclone,” FEMA has published a guide that helps residents respond to a winter storm. The emergency preparation guide consults on planning before, during, and after a storm.

FEMA’s guide can be found on the HSDL.