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‘Weather bomb’ drops on Atlantic Canada

WATCH: Atlantic Canadians are still caught in winter’s grip, as hurricane-strength winds and heavy snow hit the region. Ross Lord reports.

A weather bomb — called a bombogenesis — dropped on Atlantic Canada Wednesday.

The storm pummelled the area, with upwards of 40 to 60 cm of snow falling in some locations. It also produced intense winds of 160 km/h in some areas, grounding flights and leaving cities virtual ghost towns.

A bombogenesis occurs when the barometric pressure — a measurement of air — drops 24 millibars (mb) within 24 hours.

'Weather bomb' drops on Atlantic Canada
The low pressure system, seen here on Wednesday, March 26, is the eye in this animation of surface winds south of Nova Scotia. Earthnullschool.net

In the monster storm that is threatening the Atlantic Provinces on Wednesday, it was worst than that.

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As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, the pressure had dropped to 963 mb from 1006 mb — a whopping 43 mb.

READ MORE: Spring snow storm hits Atlantic Canada

“That’s pretty intense,” Linda Libby, a weather preparedness meteorologist out of Prince Edward Island told Global News.

Libby said that she normally refers to the weather bomb as a “cyclogenesis.”

“A cyclogenesis is the intensification or development of a weather cyclone or low-pressure system,” Libby told Global News.

This super bomb is going off in the form of high winds and heavy precipitation, in this case, mainly in the form of snow.

Is this the worst storm the region has seen?

“In terms of the worst of the storm for the winter, I’m going to have to say yes,” said Libby. However, she acknowledged that, as the region is in the middle of the storm, Environment Canada will have to take a look back and do a comparison after all is said and done.

READ MORE: Weather challenge – Who had the worst winter in Canada?

The low pressure system creates high winds. The lower the air pressure, the windier it gets. Looking at a weather map, it’s easy to see: the closer those lines are — indicators of pressure — the lower the pressure and the windier it is.

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A low pressure system, marked with the ‘L,’ is seen here with the lines, or isobars, separating different areas of air pressure.
A low pressure system, marked with the ‘L,’ is seen here with the lines, or isobars, separating different areas of air pressure. Global News

The winds also create high waves. Libby said that in some parts, in particular near the Northumberland Strait off the coast of Nova Scotia, waves are coming in at 10 to 11 metres.

“It does impact all transportation, it is a real hazard…and it’s putting more people at risk. And additionally, there is some potential for some damage to utilities with that, just because of the wind.”

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The winter has been a particularly harsh one across Canada, but when it comes to snow, Atlantic Canada seems to be a winner.

As of the end of February, Charlottetown, PEI, had seen 278.6 cm of snow, 81.4 cm higher than average (from December to February).

“It’s been a long winter, or rather, winter-season,” said Libby.