ROCKFORD (WREX) – You may have heard that the wild weather Wednesday and Thursday is all part of a “bomb cyclone” that hit a good chunk of the nation with extreme weather. A bomb cyclone is a buzzwordy term for a storm system undergoing bombogenesis.
What is “bombogenesis”? It’s a storm or area of low pressure that’s rapidly intensifying and dropping 24 millibars (a measurement of atmospheric pressure) or more, in 24 hours or less.
While that makes sense to meteorologists and weather enthusiasts, here’s a definition without all of the extra science terms. A storm undergoing bombogenesis or “bombing out” means the storm is intensifying quickly, and growing very strong. These storms can bring heavy rain or snow, blizzard conditions, and or severe storms. Most importantly, long periods of strong to extreme winds are felt as the cyclone moves by.
In this case, the storm hit a good section of the nation, with an area of low pressure rivaling low-end Category 1 hurricanes. Wide-ranging impacts with blizzard and whiteout conditions, extreme winds, flooding and severe storms were seen. Specific cases were 6-12″ of snow from Colorado to Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota.
Severe storms were seen from Texas to the Great Lakes, with damaging winds and tornadoes. Flooding and heavy rainfall was seen locally and across Wisconsin and Iowa. As for the extreme winds, 75 mph plus wind gusts were recorded from Colorado to Kansas and Texas. Denver saw 80 mph gusts and Colorado Springs recorded nearly 100 mph wind gusts.
Locally, Rockford picked up over 1″ of rainfall, which combined with melting snow and frozen ground will result in major river flooding in the coming days. Wind gusts only topped 40 mph, with a few spots getting 50 mph gusts.
If you ever hear about a cyclone bombing out, be ready for strong winds and potentially rough weather on top of that.