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The East Coast is facing the threat of a 'bomb cyclone'

The National Weather Service (NWS) is warning residents on the east coast of a potential 'bomb cyclone' which is otherwise known as an extra-tropical cyclone. PHOTO: NWS

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- The National Weather Service (NWS) is warning residents on the east coast of a potential 'bomb cyclone' which is otherwise known as an extra-tropical cyclone.

What exactly is a 'bomb cyclone?' Its typical reference by meteorologists is bombogenesis, which the NWS says is what takes place when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, causing a cyclone which rapidly intensifies.

The process, according to the NWS, is called bombogenesis while the result is called a bomb cyclone.

It's concerning because these bomb cyclones bring a rapid drop in millibars (atmospheric pressure) which cause high wind speeds.

The NWS has issued an alert to East Coast residents, warning the storm could bring "bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills" east of the Rockies into this weekend.

In their forecast, the NWS says high temps will be 10-20 degrees below normal while an area of low pressure (potential bomb cyclone) develops over the Bahamas and keeps cold air locked in place as it moves toward the East Coast Wednesday and Thursday.

The NWS projects "significant wintry precipitation" bringing the potential for up to a quarter inch of ice and a few inches of snow possible everywhere from the Florida panhandle to Maine.

The biggest threat could be for those on the northeast coast. Specifically, NWS Boston says the potential is increasing for near blizzard conditions on the Massachusetts/Rhode Island eastern regions. Blizzard Warnings have already been issued for some areas. Following the snowfall, a blast of dangerously cold air is expected.

If the storm comes closer to the East Coast than expected, the NWS says damaging winds could cause power outages, coastal flooding/erosion, and heavier snowfall than expected.

The best possible outcome, as with any tropical -or in this case, extra-tropical storm- is for the storm to track further off the coast than projected.

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