SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - As an intense blizzard pounds the Northeast with near hurricane-force winds and white-out conditions, some meteorologists have referred to it as a "bomb cyclone."
So, is that a real thing?
The answer is yes and south Mississippi was brushed by one in March of 1993
Bomb cyclones refer to intense, non-tropical, areas of low pressure that have undergone a rapid intensification process called bombogenesis. Essentially, it's a fancy term used by meteorologists to refer to a 24 millibar or more drop in pressure over a 24-hour period.
So why is it called a cyclone?
That's simple. Meteorologists refer to any area of low pressure as a cyclone.
Is a hurricane a bomb cyclone?
No. Bomb cyclones refer to areas of low pressure that gain their energy from a contrast in temperature between the upper levels and the surface. Hurricanes derive their energy from warm ocean waters.
Is this new?
The process happens several times a year all around the world. So, it's nothing new.
One of the deadliest and most expensive "bomb cyclones" to impact the US occurred March 12-16, 1993.
It started as an area of low pressure off the coast of Texas and Louisiana. Fueled by an intense contrast in temperature between an arctic air mass and warm Gulf of Mexico waters, it underwent bombogenesis and became an intense area of low pressure that dropped snow all the way from south Mississippi to Maine.
The storm was just getting its act together as it was passing by south Mississippi.
According to National Weather Service records, 1.5 inches of snow fell in Biloxi. Poplarville picked up 6 inches.
As the storm tracked north and east, it became stronger and brought blizzard conditions to Alabama and up the east coast. It also caused a storm surge in the Florida Panhandle.