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January 4, 2018

AccuWeather: Blizzard to drop up to 24 inches of snow

Map by AccuWeather
Map by AccuWeather
AccuWeather map shows expected snowfall for the different regions of Maine and the Northeast.

AccuWeather reported Maine will be hit with a blizzard today with a potential for 12 to 24 inches of snow and winds gusts of between 35 miles and 70 per hour. The storm is projected to undergo rapid strengthening, referred to as bombogenesis, and will affect the entire Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Atlantic Canada.

The National Weather Service office in Gray issued a blizzard warning today, stating it would remain in effect from noon until 4 a.m. Friday.

"Winds gusting as high as 50 mph will cause whiteout conditions in blowing snow," the NWS advisory stated. "Significant drifting of the snow is likely."

"As the storm pulls away from the region bitter cold air will follow for Friday through the weekend with very low wind chills late Friday night through Saturday night," the advisory continued. "There will continue to be areas of blowing and drifting snow into Saturday."

Airline delays in the major hubs of the Northeast, from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston are expected to occur from Thursday to Friday, AccuWeather stated in a news release.

Strong offshore winds may lead to blowout tides along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.

Bombogenesis explained

Map by AccuWeather
Map by AccuWeather
This AccuWeather map shows the scope of the blizzard across Maine today.

In simple terms, bombogenesis is a storm (sometimes referred to as a "weather bomb") that undergoes rapid strengthening, according to AccuWeather.

"The term 'bombogenesis' comes from the merging of two words: bomb and cyclogenesis," said Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com. "All storms are cyclones, and genesis means the creation or beginning. In this case, bomb refers to explosive development. Altogether the term means 'explosive storm strengthening.'"

In terms of precipitation, Sosnowski said very heavy rain and/or snow may fall in the path of the storm undergoing bombogenesis. "Precipitation rate is produced from the rising column of air," he said. "When air rises, it cools and moisture condenses to form clouds and rain or snow. The faster the air rises and cools, the heavier the precipitation."

The Superstorm of 1993 — often referred to as the "Storm of the Century," from March 12-13 — is a prime example of a storm that underwent bombogenesis, Sosnowski stated. Other examples of storms that underwent bombogenesis are Hurricane Charley in 2004 and Hurricane Wilma in 2005, the Blizzard of 2015 (Jan. 26-27) and the northeastern United States storm of late-October 2017.

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