What is a 'bomb cyclone' and what does it mean for this week's storm?

You may have seen this week's storm in the Midwest described using the terms "bombogenesis" and "bomb cyclone."

Bombogenesis happens when "a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours," according to NOAA. This extreme and rapid change in pressure forms a very strong storm, a so-called "bomb cyclone."

Bomb Cyclone is not an official term. Meteorologists and scientists use "bombogenesis."

According to AccuWeather, these storms occur most commonly off the east coast and the most common recipe for it to form is "cold air along the land, warm air over the water."

Bomb cyclones happen almost every winter, but this week's storm has seen some serious windspeeds that have been compared to a hurricane.


These types of storms, which can see snowfall rates of 2-4 inches per hour, have the potential to bring travel to a standstill.