The term “bomb cyclone” sounds horrifying. It may not be as bad as it sounds, but it’s nothing to sneeze at. Basically, the term refers to a cyclone that gets very strong in a short period of time. More specifically, it refers to a storm that drops 24 millibars of pressure in 24 hours. The lower the pressure gets, the stronger the storm is. This storm was devastatingly strong and will continue to move east across the country.
The bomb cyclone that recently pounded the northern West Coast dropped 44 millibars of pressure in 24 hours. This created a massive storm system that wreaked havoc on northern California, Oregon, and Washington. The storm brought heavy rain, flooding, mudslides, and damaging winds with it when it made landfall yesterday, October 24th. Additionally, forecasters stated that the Sierra Nevada Mountains could see up to eight feet of snow.
The bomb cyclone-fueled storm has already left its mark on the region. USA Today reports that hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are without power. Currently, at least 160,000 Californians, 170,000 Washingtonians, and 28,000 Oregonians are experiencing power outages. That is only the beginning, though.
Flooding gripped the San Francisco Bay Area, closing streets and destroying property. Mount Tamalpais, just north of San Francisco reported six inches of rain in less than twelve hours on Sunday. The bomb cyclone storm caused flooding in other areas as well. For instance, several roads in San Rafael, California are under two feet of floodwater. Officials in the area say that their emergency call volume has more than quadrupled since the storm hit.
So far, two people in Seattle lost their lives after a tree fell on their vehicle. However, that number could climb.
Bomb Cyclone, Burn Scars Cause Mudslides
Areas of California where the Caldor fires raged are now seeing new danger. The bomb cyclone caused massive mudslides in that area. The fires removed much of the vegetation that keeps the soil from soaking up all of the rainfall. As a result, the ground is saturated and prone to mudslides. These areas, called “burn scars,” are incredibly dangerous right now.
Butte County, California’s Highway Patrol closed State Route 70 due to debris flows and mudslides. The weather service in Sacramento warned residents about the dangers of mudslides. They said, “Do not attempt to cross a debris flow. Take shelter on the highest floor of your home.” They added that those near burn scars probably wouldn’t have time to evacuate before the mudslides started.
These mudslides caused by a combination of burn scars and heavy rain will be like waves of mud and fire debris. They have the potential to wipe out homes, vehicles, and human life as they roll across the land.