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What Is A Bomb Cyclone And What Are Its Effects?

Before this past week of October 25th, 2021, I don’t think many people pondered what is a Bomb Cyclone and What Are Its Effects.

News services started warning the west coast of the US that a bomb cyclone was on the way.

As a result, expect high winds, blizzard conditions, and flooding rains.

Twitter feeds filled screens captured amazing shots of the approaching storm system.

What’s a Bomb Cyclone

Explosive cyclogenesis, also known as Weather Bomb or Bomb Cyclone, is a cyclonic low-pressure area with rapid changes in pressure generally of 24 mbars within 24 hours at higher latitudes.

Bomb cyclones typically occur in the winter months at high latitudes. Additionally, the cyclones can produce winds over 90 mph on par with Category 1 hurricanes.

A river of moisture is drawn into the system and produces flooding rainfall totals.

As observed by CoCoRoHs weather observers, the October 2021 bomb cyclone produced beneficial rainfall totals in California. 

Relief From Drought At A Cost

The western states are entering an extended decades-long drought, possibly the dryest stretch since the 1500s, according to a recent LA Times Article.

With 2021 being one of the worst, if not the worst, fire seasons ever recorded, heavy rain that falls on the previously burned ground, known as burn scars, causes additional hazards.

What Is A Bomb Cyclone And What Are Its Effects
Northern California Observed Totals for Oct 25, 2021

What Should I Do If I’m in a Bomb Cyclone?

On October 25th, 2021, The National Weather Service predicted the Bomb Cyclone to reach the southern California region.

NWS advised us to stay indoors and not venture outside in these conditions. Those who do will be at risk for injuries and hypothermia in high elevations.

Ahead of the storm, many people wanted to get a look at this intense weather phenomenon. However, authorities had issued warnings indicating that the conditions might be too extreme for even the most experienced and hearty outdoor enthusiasts. 

Be prepared for water and power outages during the storm. It’s also advised to stay up to date on changing weather conditions. I would advise keeping a weather radio handy.

Is Climate Change Making Bomb Cyclone Worse

The climate-changing topic usually comes to mind as the culprit and creates much debate. However, studies regarding global warming have influenced the frequency and intensity of cyclones. 

One such study found that the average atmospheric temperature during the hurricane season has increased by 1 degree Celsius between 1979 and 2009. Therefore, this temperature increase caused more wind energy of tropical cyclones, which led to an increased intensity of these cyclones, including Bomb Cyclone.

Cyclones Explained 

A bomb cyclone is an extensive low-pressure weather system characterized by inward spiraling winds which rotate anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. The Coriolis effect produces the rotation. 

Northeast Pacific bomb cyclone 3 on 10 24 2021 1 The Rain Gauge
2021 October Northwest Bomb Cyclone

The winds in a cyclone are generated by differential heating between the equator and the pole. The pressure gradient force causes winds to flow outward from the high pressure to the low pressure. Another force acting on the wind is friction between Earth’s surface and air which causes an acceleration of airflow downwards.

Bomb Cyclone? It Is Normal For Them To Happen In The Winter Too.

Cyclones are not just a summertime thing. For the most part, the ones that cause the most damage occur at low latitudes (about 30-40 degrees north or south) because they create potent winds and temperatures. 

High latitude cyclones, on the other hand, aren’t as intense and rarely cause damage. However, there is a high-latitude form of cyclone called the bomb cyclone is known for rapid intensification. A bomb cyclone can happen at any time of year. It’s like a super-hybrid cyclone.

Summary Bullet Points

  • A cyclone is a weather system where wind revolves around a specific area in a circular pattern. 
  • Low-latitude cyclones near the equator are less common than high-latitude ones, but they can still cause significant damage. 
  • Bomb cyclones occur in the winter months. 
  • The “bomb” in a bomb cyclone refers to its rapid intensification. 
  • The term “bomb” refers to a sudden, extreme increase in the energy of a system. 
  • A cyclone of this kind can occur anywhere between 30 and 40 latitudes. 
  • A bomb cyclone is much more robust than an ordinary winter cyclone. 
  • Bomb cyclones are more likely to occur in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Alaska. 
  •  A bomb cyclone can occur anywhere on Earth within 15 degrees of the equator. 

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