'Bomb cyclone' winter storm hits US East Coast: What is it?

14 people have died and tens of thousands are without power due to the storm

Normal air pressure is about 1010 millibars; when central pressure is lower than that, things become more turbulent, with more air movement and wind kicking up.

While the storm is fast moving and will likely be gone by Friday, it will leave extremely cold temperatures in its wake. NY looks to be getting at least 6 inches.

The winter storm, impacting 41 million people from northern Florida to ME, was expected to intensify in the already-frigid Northeast over the week. Also known as the "Storm of the Century", that massive weather system brought huge snowfall totals, high winds and coastal flooding to the Eastern part of the United States.

The storm was powered by a rapid plunge in barometric pressure that some weather forecasters called a bombogenesis, or a "bomb cyclone".

The National Weather Service said snow and freezing rain was expected to spread up the coast to the Carolinas and warned that icy roads and low visibility could make driving treacherous. At this time, the latest models generally have light snow beginning in the metro area of the District between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. with snow lasting through the morning rush.

On Thursday, more than 5,500 businesses and homes were reported to be without power in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod where hurricane-force winds were in play. Current computer models suggest most, if not all, snowfall will occur east of Washington and Baltimore on Wednesday night into early Thursday. "The lower the atmospheric pressure is, the more intense the storm is".

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It's not unusual to get at least one storm that is classified as a "bomb cyclone" a year, Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist with NOAA's Weather Prediction Center, told Fox News. It, however, stayed farther to the west, bringing greater snow amounts across Long Island. Another winter storm system will come just close enough to our area to cause some chaos just in time for your Thursday morning commute.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for parts of the state in advance of the storm's main impact, with predictions of up to 11 inches of snow in some portions of the state.

It is common for nor'easters to experience a pressure drop of this magnitude.

"Our biggest concern is the potential for damaging wind gusts especially near the southeast New England coast", the Weather Service tweeted. There are also warnings over coastal flooding, downed trees and power lines along the East Coast. Wicked cold air sourced from Siberia, the North Pole and Greenland will all converge on the region. This doesn't mean that residents of New England should duck and cover. The high tide in Portland on Thursday was 13.79 feet, almost reaching the 14.17 foot mark reported during the Blizzard of 1978.

At least 28 major cities across New England, eastern NY and the Mid-Atlantic states will have record low temperatures by dawn on Sunday, the National Weather Service said.

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