An area of low pressure bombed out as it quickly tracked off the East Coast Tuesday into Wednesday.
The term bombed out, or bombogenesis, refers to the rapid strengthening of an area of low pressure. More specifically, its central pressure must drop at least 24 millibars within 24 hours. Sometimes storms that meet this criteria are called bomb cyclones.
This system emerged off the Southeast coast on Tuesday and brought some unusual snow to parts of the Carolinas. Up to 1.7 inches of snow accumulated in Wingate and Wesley Chapel, North Carolina, on Tuesday morning.
This particular system produced stunning images on satellite and radar as it rapidly intensified off the North Carolina coast late Tuesday.
In addition to the rain and snow that was observed in the Carolinas, a wind gust of 70 mph was reported on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon. Farther east, this low produced hurricane force winds over the Atlantic on Tuesday evening and had an almost hurricane appearance with a lack of clouds near the center of the low.
Here’s a closer look at this in a mesmerizing image from GOES-16, as highlighted by senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel, Stu Ostro.
Lightning was also observed near the center of the low pressure system Tuesday night, which is an indication of rapid intensification.
This image from NOAA also highlights the dry air, shown by the orange colors, south of the area of low pressure. This is another sign of the system undergoing rapid strengthening.
This bomb cyclone quickly tracked off the East Coast and fortunately stayed far enough offshore to limit impacts to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Its fast movement northeastward also helped to keep rain and snowfall totals generally on the light side. In addition, the lack of cold air in place resulted in precipitation falling mainly as rain for much of the East.
On Wednesday morning, rain and some snow fell in New England and Nantucket recorded a wind gust of 50 mph.