What Is Bombogenesis? Everything You Need To Know About This Blizzard’s Buzzword

BOSTON (CBS) — You may have heard the term thrown around on your local weathercast lately. . . “bombogenesis.”

Sounds like a great way to hype up a storm, right? Brings back memories of the dreaded “polar vortex” or “snowmageddon.” Bombogenesis is, in fact, a real meteorological term, and Thursday’s storm will fit the bill perfectly.

The official definition:

Bombogenesis occurs when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system creates what is known as a “bomb cyclone.”

(WBZ-TV graphic)

What do you need to get bombogenesis? Typically, a dramatic interaction or clash of airmasses (warm and cold) and it almost always happens over the milder ocean waters which supply the fuel for the storm to “take off.”

(WBZ-TV graphic)

How often does it happen? Typically only a few times per year. The last one that comes to memory was the October 29-30th rain and wind storm that postponed Halloween in many towns. Then there was the March 14th snowstorm from last winter as well as the big snow event in mid-February. When it happens close to our coastline, you know it. It almost always means a big precipitation and wind event.

Check out the forecast central pressures (in millibars) for Thursday’s blizzard. . . classic bombogenesis!
Wednesday Noon: 1008mb
Wednesday 7 p.m.: 996mb (drop of 12mb)
Thursday 1 a.m.: 984mb (drop of 24mb BINGO!)
Thursday 7 a.m.: 968mb (total drop of 40mb and a whopping 16mb drop in just 6 hours!)
Thursday Noon: 960mb (total drop of 48mb in 24 hours…WOW!)

So, the next time you hear one of the WBZ-TV meteorologists use the term bombogenesis, make sure you pay extra attention, a big storm is likely on the way!

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ.