COLUMBUS (WCMH)–A massive nor’easter blasted the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast yesterday with hurricane-force wind gusts, pelting rain, heavy wet snow and caused coastal flooding. This is the same storm that brought Ohio a soaking rain Thursday, and wind-whipped snow in the northern sections overnight, accumulating 3 to 12 inches from Galion to Ashtabula County.
Friday’s storm deepened after reaching the New Jersey coast a stunning 26 millibars (.77 inches of mercury on your home barometer) in 21 hours, fitting the criterion for a “bomb cyclone” for the second time this winter, which is remarkable and an indication of both unusually warm sea water and a vigorous jet stream disturbance.
On January 3-4, a historic bomb cyclone intensified explosively (59 mb/1.74 in in 24 hours) south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, reaching a low pressure of 28.05 inches.
The dynamics to create “bombogenesis” are well-understood: a powerful jet stream aloft and warm ocean water coming together to cause a low-pressure system to spin up under highly favorable atmospheric conditions.
The rapid pressure drop caused fierce winds on Friday, gusting to 71 mph at Cape May, New Jersey, and 93 mph at Barnstable, Massachusetts, driving water at high tide to the third highest level on record at Boston Harbor. More than 2 million people lost power from North Carolina to Maine during the storm as trees were toppled by a combination of high wind, and inland heavy wet snow.
Snow accumulations reached 40 inches west of Albany, New York, and ranged from 10 to 30 inches in places from the Pennsylvania Poconos to the New York Catskill Mountains. Conditions resembled a whiteout and traffic was snarled for many hours, leaving motorists trapped on snow-clogged roads, surrounded by downed trees and power lines.