Is the Thanksgiving Week Storm Approaching SoCal Really a ‘Bomb Cyclone’?

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A storm spinning off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and approaching California, as seen in satellite imagery as of about 3 p.m. Tuesday.(Credit: NOAA GOES-West satellite via Los Angeles Times)

A storm spinning off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and approaching California, as seen in satellite imagery as of about 3 p.m. Tuesday.(Credit: NOAA GOES-West satellite via Los Angeles Times)

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News organizations, commercial weather forecasters and numerous people on social media have been calling the storm approaching California this week a “bomb cyclone,” but Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Oxnard, is uncomfortable with that name.

“That’s a little too sensational,” said Hoxsie, who prefers to simply call the system a deep low. “We’re not ready to call it a bomb cyclone. We prefer to shy away from sensational terminology because it doesn’t illuminate what’s really happening.”

What everyone can agree on is that a powerful, cold, low-pressure system packing strong winds will continue to deepen through Tuesday night as it moves down the West Coast. It will bring rain, mountain snow and cold temperatures to Southern California on Wednesday and Thursday.

The term “bombogenesis” refers to the process during which a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars — a measure of barometric pressure — over 24 hours, creating what is known as a “bomb cyclone.” This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warmer air mass, often over warmer ocean water. Low pressure is associated with clouds and precipitation, and the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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