Residents along the eastern seaboard are feeling the effects of a powerful winter storm, known as a “bomb cyclone,” as the massive blizzard makes its way north with the Maritimes in its sights.
The storm has dumped as many as 43 centimeters of snow in some areas and has unleashed hurricane-force winds and historic flooding. Forecasters expected the storm to be followed immediately by a blast of cold that could break records in more than two-dozen cities and bring wind chills as low as minus 40 degrees this weekend.
The severe weather system, officially called a bombogenesis, is sweeping across a huge swath of the U.S., from the Carolinas to Maine, and is expected to dump up to 45 centimetres of snow in some areas and bring strong winds Thursday, followed by possible record-breaking cold.
The U.S. National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for much of the East Coast, including coastal New England and New York, as the system moves into Atlantic Canada.
Global News meteorologist Ross Hull explains that bombogensesis is a low-pressure system in which the barometric pressure falls 24 millibars within 24 hours, meaning things gets intense very quickly.
“The term cyclone refers to a low-pressure system – this is not a hurricane, but a strong area of low pressure with a cold core. You can call any low-pressure system a cyclone,” Hull said.
Hull explained Thursday that storm had intensified over the last 24 hours “at near historic rates.”
“It’s not a hurricane but we’re even picking up an eye like feature on satellite imagery, which is some warmer air trapped in the centre of this massive storm,” the meteorologist said.
As for what to expect in Atlantic Canada, Hull said storm surge, damaging winds with heavy rain and heavy snow will be a concern over the next day or so.
WATCH ABOVE: ‘Bomb cyclone’ moves north, leaves thousands without power in southern U.S.
“Some parts of New Brunswick will likely get hit with over 40 centimetres of snow and the winds with this storm on the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia will be at hurricane force with gusts well over 100 km/h,” Hull said.
Nova Scotia Power company launched the biggest pre-storm mobilization in the company’s history as the storm moves towards the province.
The storm has resulted in thousands of cancelled flights at major airports such as Boston’s Logan International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport and disrupted the schedules at regional airports. Dozens of flights have already been cancelled at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
WATCH: Eastern Canada is about to get even colder thanks to a ‘bomb cyclone’
Schools and business were closed in many parts of Atlantic Canada and as of about 1:30 p.m. local time, Halifax suspended ferry service harbour. Nearly 30,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were also without service.
Follow our live blog for up to the minute coverage as the “bomb cyclone” targets the east coast.
–with a file from Maham Abedi and the Associated Press