A “superbomb” storm is being predicted for Christmas Day in the Northeast United states according to WeatherBell Meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue who has pointed out it looks to be reminiscent of the Cleveland Superbomb of 1978 aka the “Great New England Blizzard of 1978”.
This GFS forecast model for Christmas Day shows the depth of the low, poised to gather moisture from the Great Lakes and dump it into the Northeastern U.S. over the next 24-48 hours, potentially making Christmas and post-Christmas travel a nightmare, but … there is a twist.
Exciting to see extreme weather forecasts with an item that requires dusting off the record books. 958 mb low
For reference, a 958 millibar low pressure system is as low as the central pressure for some tropical storms and nearly that of some hurricanes. For example Hurricane Sandy had a central pressure of 940 mbar or 27.76 inHg.
According to the Time article on the Cleveland Superbomb of 1978:
Meteorologists have a name for a storm that occurs when air pressure drops very rapidly as a jet stream brings in moisture: a weather bomb. In late January 1978, a low-pressure system moving from the Gulf Coast met with two other low-pressure systems, one from the Southwest and one from Canada, to create one of the worst snowstorms the Midwest has ever seen. With barometric pressure so low, it was more like a hurricane than a snowstorm, the so-called Cleveland Superbomb dumped 1-3 ft. (30-90 cm) of snow on several Midwestern states, including Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Wind gusts approached 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h), causing snowdrifts to reach heights of 25 ft. (8 m) in some areas. Such snowdrifts made roadways impassable, forcing doctors and emergency personnel to ski and snowmobile their way to those in need. Indiana’s governor sent tanks down I-65 to remove stranded trucks, while in Ohio, National Guard helicopters flew some 2,700 missions to help stranded drivers. About 70 deaths are attributed to the storm.
While the Cleveland Superbomb has an intriguing name, the most well-known snowstorm of that year was known simply as the Great New England Blizzard of 1978. On Feb. 6, about two weeks after the Superbomb, a blizzard dealt Boston and other parts of the Northeast as many as 27 in. (69 cm) of snow with winds of 80-110 m.p.h. (130-180 km/h). Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed and approximately 100 people died.
I’ll add, it also has nothing to do with that other favorite catchphrase of the media, the “polar vortex”.