What is a ‘bomb cyclone’ and how could it impact Canada? | CTV News

TORONTO —
As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, travel across the country has been chaotic due in part to a massive winter storm along the West Coast that has been given the apocalyptic term “bomb cyclone.”

A bomb cyclone, otherwise known as “explosive cylcogenesis,” is essentially a weather system that experiences a rabid pressure decrease that brings strong winds and precipitation. Typically, a drop in pressure of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours can be classified as a bomb cyclone.

A millibar is a unit of measurement that meteorologists use to measure air pressure.

The current storm working its way across the U.S. dropped 43 millibars on Tuesday.

David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, told CTV News Channel the storm travelling through the U.S. is an “enormous system that has tentacles as far as we can see.”

“The word ‘bomb’ is that it explodes,” he said. “When this pressure suddenly drops…it’s almost like an atomic bomb has gone off in it and when a bomb occurs, it means the floor has dropped out of it, it’s increased its energy very quickly in 24 hours and does some powerful things.”

In Oregon, where the storm first formed earlier this week, wind gusts reached more than 160 km/h and Pacific Ocean waves reached more than 10.3-metres high.

As the storm moved east toward the Rockies, Colorado received nearly 60 centimetres of snow on Wednesday, making it Denver’s biggest November snowstorm since 1994.

Phillips added that the cold air coming from Canada, combined with the warm air moving north from the southern U.S. played a factor in the severity of the storm.

“That is the recipe for wild weather and what we saw from the system in the Pacific, it had some cold Canadian air, some warm American air and then you had a jet stream, which is kind of like the weather delivery system,” he said.

The storm is already having an indirect impact in western Canada, where high winds have caused damage in British Columbia and southern Alberta is expecting significant snowfall.

Parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are also expected to receive snowfall in the coming days.

This content was originally published here.

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