The phrase bomb cyclone has re-entered the news. It seems appropriate for a strong storm to have bomb in its name, but the word actually refers to a meteorological phenomenon and not the cyclone's explosive intensity.
According to The Denver Post, the bomb in bomb cyclone stands for bombogenesis. Bombogenesis occurs when a non-tropical storm experiences at least a 24 millibar (the unit used to measure barometric pressure) drop within 24 hours. Low pressure makes for intense storms, so a bomb cyclone is a system that's built up a significant amount strength in a short time.
This type of storm usually depends on the ocean or another large body of water for its power. During the winter, the relatively warm air coming off the ocean and the cold air above land can collide to create a sharp drop in atmospheric pressure. Also known as a winter hurricane, this effect has produced some of the worst snowstorms to ever hit the U.S.
Here are some emergency supplies you should have on hand.
[h/t The Washington Post]