Following nearly two weeks of record-breaking freezing temperatures, a severe winter storm is forming off of the east coast, one that resembles a winter hurricane in many respects, and will run north from Florida through to Atlantic Canada. Aside from being a cyclone that is expected to deliver wind gusts of up to 60-70 mph, the storm is also forecast to develop hurricane-level low barometric pressures, the key ingredient for a strong storm.
Due to its rapid decrease in barometric pressure, this weather system is being referred to by many meteorologists as a ‘bomb cyclone’. "Some computer models are projecting a minimum central air pressure of below 950 millibars at its peak, which would be nearly unheard of for this part of the world outside of a hurricane," explains Mashable’s Andrew Freedman. "For comparison, Hurricane Sandy had a minimum central pressure of about 946 millibars when it made its left hook into New Jersey in 2012."
The storm is already leaving dustings of snow in regions that aren’t accustomed to that form of precipitation, including Tallahassee, FL, now seeing snow for the first time in 28 years. Blizzard warnings have been issued for the Virginia Tidewater and eastern Massachusetts and Maine, and the Weather Service office serving northeast Florida and southeast Georgia is warning of a heavy mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow through Wednesday afternoon. "Power outages and tree damage are likely to be due to the ice," the service warns. "Travel will be dangerous and nearly impossible."