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Bombogenesis and nor'easters: What's the difference?

In New England, we're no stranger to nor'easters, or even bombogenesis storms. So what are they?

CONNECTICUT, USA — Science has no shortage of weird-sounding words (borborygmus, googol, wamble, etc.) but a word we tend to hear a lot lately in the weather world is bombogenesis. 

With a winter storm approaching New England this weekend, the term is once again being used. 

What is it?

In simplest terms, it's when a storm goes from a whole 'lotta nothing to a whole 'lotta something very, very fast. 

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RELATED: Weather Watch: Nor'easter expected to hit southern New England Saturday

A bombogenesis is when a storm rapidly intensifies, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Rapid intensification happens when the storm drops at least 24 millibars in pressure over 24 hours. A bombogenesis occurs usually when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. 

Bombogenesis is the name of the process a storm takes.

Due to the rapid intensification, it can accelerate windspeeds, bringing with it blizzard conditions and hazardous storm conditions.

It is not a hurricane! 

John R. Gyakum was one of two authors who coined the nickname and studied the phenomenon behind the weather “bomb” in the 1980s. You can read the paper he co-wrote here along with a Q&A he did with The Washington Post here. 

So what does that mean for our nor'easter? Is a bombogenesis a nor'easter?

The two aren't the same, but the existence of bombogenesis can help make a nor'easter nastier than your typical storm.

A nor'easter is just a type of storm, named as such because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast. NOAA said the storms occur at any time of the year but are the most frequent, and most intense, between September and April. 

Nor’easters also usually develop between Georgia and New Jersey, within 100 miles east or west of the East Coast, according to NOAA.

So, take a classic nor'easter like the one heading Connecticut's way this weekend, add a dash of rapid intensification called bombogenesis, and what does that spell?

A winter storm that snow lovers dream of. 

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Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jglatz@fox61.com.  

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