An intense blizzard or snowstorm in the US and Canada also termed ‘Élliott’ or ‘Bomb Cyclone’ has disrupted the lives of many, especially during the holiday season, when tourism is at its peak. The sudden and adverse weather phenomenon has claimed at least 28 lives as of December 27, a report by Associated Press stated. In the US, about 60% of the country’s population was alerted to winter weather warnings or advisories. The National Weather Service noted that the temperature in some areas drastically dropped to below zero degrees.
On December 22, NASA’s Earth Observatory noted that a blast of Arctic air plunged to the south and created a powerful blizzard affecting the eastern and central US. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has ranked it the fiercest winter storm to hit the greater Buffalo area in New York since 1977. So what is this phenomenon that is creating havoc in day-to-day lives of people? Let’s find out.
What is a ‘bomb cyclone’?
According to weather experts, the ‘bomb cyclone’ is one of its kind weather phenomenon that develops during the winter. It’s not rare for this type of storm to develop, but this year it has been very intense.
A storm forms when a low-pressure air mass interacts with a high-pressure mass. The resulting airflow creates strong winds.
A bomb cyclone or ‘bombogenesis’ can develop in just 24 hours. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the rare blizzard develops when atmospheric pressure at the centre of the cyclone drops to less than 24 millibars in just 24 hours. This can further happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass like over oceans.
Dangerous wind chills can develop due to the combination of extremely cold temperatures and strong winds.
What is the effect of ‘bomb cyclone’ on weather conditions?
A bomb cyclone can have various hazards depending on its location and speed. For instance, it can create blizzard conditions that can reduce visibility. It can also cause heavy rainfall and strong winds. Again, heavy precipitation can also cause coastal flooding.
The combination of strong winds and extremely cold temperatures can create frostbite conditions. In addition, bomb cyclones can trigger other weather-related phenomena.
How is ‘bomb cyclone’ affecting life in the US, Canada?
The US National Weather Service has called it a “once-in-a-generation type event” as temperatures in several states have plummeted to -53C.
Apart from snow-covered roads that have wreaked havoc on the traffic of major cities, many houses across the territory of the storm are without power. In New York, over 34,000 homes were without electricity till Sunday. In many areas, the electricity grid operators and utilities only narrowly avoided a disaster as they asked their customers to conserve energy.
Authorities are struggling to provide shelter to many migrants from Mexico and Central America.
Precautions to take to avoid inconvenience caused by ‘bomb cyclone’
As the Arctic air moves over the country, it will warm up and reduce the pressure difference, which will eventually cause the storm to dissipate, John Moore, a meteorologist and spokesperson for the National Weather Service has informed the New York Times. Forecasts further suggest, most parts of the country will experience above-average temperatures.
Those who are planning on travelling should exercise caution due to the weather conditions. In response to the situation, Governor Hochul has urged people to stay indoors and warned about the deteriorating weather.
People indoors should ensure that they have charged their electronic devices in case there is a power outage and should keep the torch handy. Those working outside should also take breaks to avoid getting injured.