Winter Storm Brings Freezing Rain, Snow, Wind and Bomb Cyclones, Oh My!

A powerful winter storm is bringing heavy snow, freezing rain, cold, and winds likely to bring severe disruption through the rest of the week before Christmas. The National Weather Service is calling it a “once in a generation” kind of storm in the northern regions of the country.

Across the U.S. 114 million people are under weather alerts, and blizzard warnings affect eight states.

  • On Thursday a cold air mass moving across the southern Plains will produce wind gusts up to 60 mph and crippling wind chills as low at -40 degrees.
  • By Thursday night, parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast are expected to experience temperatures in the single digits or teens. Meteorologists say Dallas temperatures could drop below freezing for 72 hours, with the lowest wind chill of minus 6 degrees coming late Thursday.
  • The Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region will see snow and strong winds Thursday and Friday, with some wind gusts up to 50 mph.
  • Moving East, the storm will impact Washington, D.C., and New York City with heavy rains Thursday and a flash freeze Friday morning with strong winds. A flood warning is in effect in New York City from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday, while Boston is under a warning from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

What is a bomb cyclone?

 A bomb cyclone is when a storm rapidly intensifies – and drops 24 millibars (a term used to measure atmospheric pressure) in 24 hours.

The storm is expected to reach the pressure equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane as it reaches the Great Lakes, with the weather service describing the strength of the low a “once-in-a-generation” event.

Expect airline delays and cancellations.

More than 1,200 flights within, to and out of the United States have been canceled as of Thursday morning, according to Another 1,218 flights within, to and out of the U.S. are delayed.


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