‘Coldest Christmas ever, bomb cyclone’: US prepares for frigid holiday week

NEW DELHI: A dangerous arctic air mass enveloped a large swath of the United States on Thursday ahead of what could be one of the coldest Christmas Days on record, as a winter storm threatened to cancel the travel plans of millions of Americans.
Leading up to the holiday weekend, the impending storm is expected to bring blizzard conditions to the Great Lakes region, up to 2 inches (5 cm) of rain followed by a flash freeze on the East Coast , gusts of 60 mph (100 kph) and extreme cold as far south of the Mexican border.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said that as the storm formed over the Great Lakes on Thursday, a weather phenomenon known as a bomb cyclone is expected to develop from a “low pressure” system. is deepening rapidly”.
What is a “tornado bomb”?
A bomb cyclone, also known as an explosive cyclone, is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs when a low-pressure system experiences a rapid and drastic drop in atmospheric pressure. This rapid pressure drop is accompanied by strong winds and can lead to severe weather, including heavy snowfall, strong winds and thunderstorms.
Bomb tornadoes are often associated with the winter months, but they can also occur during other seasons. They are most common in mid-latitudes, such as the eastern United States, Europe, and Asia.
Cyclones form when a low-pressure system moves over an area of ​​very cold air. As cold air moves through the system, it causes the air pressure to drop rapidly. This rapid pressure drop can lead to strong winds, when air rushes in to fill the low-pressure area. Bomb cyclones can also bring heavy rainfall, such as snow or rain, depending on the air temperature in the area.
Cyclone bombs can be very dangerous, as they can carry strong winds and heavy snowfall, which can make travel difficult and disrupt daily activities. They can also lead to power outages and infrastructure damage.
It is important for everyone to be prepared for bomb tornadoes and to follow any warnings or advice issued by meteorological agencies. This may include staying indoors, avoiding travel, and having an emergency supply kit on hand at all times.
In Fort Worth, Texas, the NWS told residents that the cold snap isn’t expected to be as devastating as last February, when freezing temperatures knocked millions of people out of power in the Lone Star State and left dozens of people without power. die.
Coldest Christmas on record?
Combined with arctic cold, wind-cold elements as low as 40 degrees below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) are forecast in the High Plains, northern Rockies and Great Basin, the NWS said. Exposure to such conditions without adequate protection can cause frostbite within minutes.
A weather service meteorologist says more than half of the 48 states, from Washington state to Florida, are under a winter weather warning, including advice for cold winds affecting about 135 million people.
Parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Plains could see the coldest near-Christmas Day weather on record, according to the weather service.
Temperatures are expected to drop to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 degrees Celsius) in Philadelphia on Sunday, near the previous low from 1943, while Sioux City, Iowa, could dip to minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit. (minus 26 degrees Celsius), surpassing the record from the 1980s.
The frigid air mass is pushing south through central Oklahoma and northwest Texas, where temperatures are expected to drop to around 10F (minus 7C) on Thursday. Temperatures in the Southern Plains and Southeast could stay below freezing – but still 30 degrees below normal – for days, the NWS predicts.
Authorities are concerned about the potential for power outages and are warning people to take precautions to protect the elderly and homeless as well as livestock — and if possible, postpone travel.
Holiday travel plans in jeopardy
The American Automobile Association estimates that more than 112 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home between Friday and January 2, the vast majority – 102 million – by car. Authorities have warned against extreme weather conditions in the coming days.
The Federal Aviation Administration warned that high winds and heavy snow could slow flights at major air travel hubs Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver.
According to a flight-tracking service, more than 3,000 US flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday have been cancelled, including nearly 1,000 departures and arrivals at two major Chicago airports.
(With input from agencies)


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