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What is a bombogenesis?

Winter Storm Elliot is rapidly growing and will cause the coldest Christmas in the midwest since the late 1980s.

Fuerte nevada provocada por la tormenta invernal 'Elliot' en Cincinnati

Fuerte nevada provocada por la tormenta invernal 'Elliot' en Cinccinati (

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We have been hearing the term bombogenesis for several days. Winter Storm Elliot is currently making its way across the nation. The National Weather Service warned that it will cause the coldest Christmas in the Midwest since the late 1980s, with cold temperatures, frost and strong winds that will jeopardize the vacations for nearly 60% of U.S. population.

However, many do not know the true meaning of a"bombogenesis" or "bomb cyclone." According to Accuweather, it is an area of low pressure which strengthens at high speed. Most of these phenomena occur over the ocean, whether or not they are tropical.

The term bombogenesis comes from the etymological fusion of two words: "bomb" and "cyclogenesis." As reported by Accuweather, "all storms are cyclones, and genesis means the creation or beginning." The climate website explains that, in this context, "bomb" refers to explosive development. Thus, the meaning of "bombogenesis" would be a rapidly strengthening storm. Accuweather's chief meteorologist Jon Porter explains:

Storms, of course, always have lower atmospheric pressure, but in this case the atmospheric pressure is lowering very quickly as the storm system intensifies ... the barometric pressure will greatly reduce very quickly.

Coldest Christmas in 50 years

The National Weather Service began warning about Elliot earlier in the week. As reported at the time, the phenomenon, which is already affecting much of the country, will cause 25-to-35-degree drop in a matter of hours from today until Sunday, leaving a wind chill of between 35 and 55 degrees below zero.

In addition, the bombogenesis will be accompanied by strong winds and heavy snow, which will affect the conditions of the nation's roads. The NWS recommended that citizens take all necessary precautions:

Wind chills of this magnitude can cause frostbite in less than five minutes if precautions are not taken, and hypothermia and death are also possible from prolonged exposure to cold.