There has been no shortage of amazing imagery generated from today’s powerful East Coast winter storm. Below are what we think are some of the best images to sum up how intense this storm is.
— NASA SPoRT (@NASA_SPoRT) January 4, 2018
Wednesday night off the coast of the Carolinas, intense thunderstorms were forming around the center of the storm’s circulation. They were so strong, they created waves — like ripples in water after a stone is thrown in — which were seen in high resolution by the new NOAA satellite, GOES-16.
Rapid development in hyperlapse
Whether you want to call it a #BombCyclone or #noreaster, social media is abuzz about the storm brewing off the East Coast. This is an animation over the past 24 hours of the rapidly developing low from the newly operational GOES-East satellite. #GOES16 pic.twitter.com/72cxbRABOW
— NWS Grand Forks (@NWSGrandForks) January 4, 2018
The winter storm off the East coast has deepened ~24 millibars in a mere 7 hours. It is very rare for a storm to intensify so fast (usually 24 millibars in 24 hours is the standard for a rapidly intensifying storm). For all our friends out east…stay safe! pic.twitter.com/hgT7jmcA20
— NWS Marquette (@NWSMarquette) January 4, 2018
You can call this storm what you will — Grayson, bomb cyclone, Old Man Winter’s revenge — but what it boils down to is one of the strongest, most rapidly intensifying storms we’ve seen in modern record-keeping.
The view from afar
The #bombcyclone is a true meteorological spectacle — moisture being siphoned northward from the deep tropics like a river in the sky, wrapping around a tight, eye-like center near the U.S. East Coast. #WinterStormGrayson pic.twitter.com/gKLxKE7pLd
— Ben Noll (@BenNollWeather) January 4, 2018
The scale of this storm is beyond impressive. You can trace the moisture source for the storm center all the way to Central America, more than 2,000 miles away.
Snow as far south as Northern Florida
No, that’s not cloud cover you are looking at over the Southeast. That’s a fresh snow pack, stretching from coastal Georgia through the Carolinas. Wednesday, the storm brought the heaviest one day snowfall on record for Savannah and Charleston. It even snowed in parts of Florida for the first time in decades.
Record low temperatures on the way
Have we mentioned how cold it’s going to get once this monster storm departs? These are the forecast low temperatures for Saturday morning, with the circled values representing a number that falls within one degree of a record low for that station. That’s a lot of circles up and down the East Coast.
Heaps of ocean ice pile up on the shore
Is this a picture of the Arctic? No, it’s what it looked like Wednesday in Cape Cod, at Rock Harbor Beach, in Orleans, Mass. Waterways across the Northeast are freezing over as a result of the extreme cold stretch in which the region has been locked since before Christmas.
Over the ocean, a spiraling gale
GOES-16 visible satellite image indicates powerful hurricane force low pressure in the W Atlantic, ASCAT wind retrievals from 1400 UTC (9 AM EST) this morning show a large area of hurricane force winds up to 80 kt to the E of North Carolina. #SatWind pic.twitter.com/7d0oBaMWR4
— NWS OPC (@NWSOPC) January 4, 2018
Snow gets all the headlines, but the wind being generated by this powerful storm that might get the last laugh. Hurricane force winds have created blizzard conditions from coastal Virginia to Massachusetts. And all of that wind pushes a lot of water toward the coast, too, as evidenced by the fact that Boston is on track to experience its highest high-tide reading ever recorded.
Coastal flooding turns roads into slush rivers
Speaking of water, many coastal locations in New England are battling not only the frozen water falling as snow but also the very cold brackish waters from the bays. Astronomically high tides and powerful ocean storms don’t bode well for those looking to avoid coastal flooding.
A storm to be studied for decades
10 AM official WPC analysis has low pressure down to 951mb, a remarkable drop of 59 millibars in 24 hours. Also 38mb in the last 12 hours. pic.twitter.com/TgoLDS9J7h
— Alex Lamers (@AlexJLamers) January 4, 2018
And this is why we refer to rapidly strengthening storms as “bombing out.” This storm has used the atmosphere around it in an efficient manner, lowering its central pressure to 951 millibars as of 10 a.m. today. That is already a record low pressure for extra-tropical storms in the Atlantic, and this storm isn’t done intensifying yet.