Winter storm warning has East Coast bracing for potential bomb cyclone

January 6, 2022
Northbound and southbound sections of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, Va., are closed Jan. 3 because of snow and ice.


  • Parts of Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee will take the first hit Thursday evening.
  • The storm could whip up strong winds, pull in more moisture and drive higher snow totals as it heads toward New England.
  • More than 100,000 Virginia homes and businesses remained without power Thursday from Monday’s storm.

A swath of the East was bracing Thursday for the second major snowstorm in five days while blinding snow, high winds and below-zero temperatures rolled across much of the nation’s northern tier.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg said a storm targeting much of the East should develop into the first bomb cyclone of 2022. A bomb cyclone is defined as a storm that’s central pressure plummets within 24 hours. The storm could whip up strong winds, pull in more moisture and drive higher snow totals as it heads toward New England, he said.

In New York, lake-effect snow bands were already slamming the Buffalo area early Thursday, producing snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Gusty winds up to 25 mph were also creating limited visibility and dangerous travel conditions.

“Heavy snow at the Buffalo airport this morning has already established a record for the date,” the National Weather Service tweeted shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday. “The 9.8″ breaks the former record set back in 1974.”

It was not yet clear whether the all-time January one-day snowfall record of 18.3, set in 1982, would fall.

In the South, Nashville was also seeing snow Thursday morning: “Snow has spread across much of Middle Tennessee including Nashville Metro, and travel is deteriorating quickly,” the National Weather Service in Nashville tweeted. “1-2 inches per hour could fall at times this morning.”

Parts of West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina were awaiting the storm, which was due to roll in Thursday afternoon and evening. 

In and around Washington, D.C., where more than a foot of snow fell in some places Monday, up to six inches more snow was forecast Thursday night into Friday.

WHAT IS A BOMB CYCLONE?:The weather phenomenon is basically a winter hurricane

In Virginia, crews had worked through Tuesday to free up a roughly 50-mile traffic jam in I-95 that trapped scores of drivers in their cars for more than 24 hours. More than 100,000 Virginia homes and businesses remained without power Thursday from Monday’s storm.

“These back-to-back storms will generate landmark winter weather that requires extra flexibility, particularly as many continue to deal with power outages,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, who declared a state of emergency.

‘AN OUTRAGE’: Why drivers were left stranded overnight, some for 24 hours, on I-95 in Virginia

Up to a foot of snow could sweep across parts of Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, if the storm strengthens fast enough, Accuweather said. Boston was expecting up to 8 inches.

“This will be a disruptive storm, and since cold air will be preceding the storm, snow will accumulate on roads as soon as it starts,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

ICE CAUSES DEADLY TRAFFIC ISSUES: Virginia’s Gov. Northam declares state of emergency

In the Upper Midwest, aparts of Michigan were buried under a foot of snow with more expected into Friday. Minnesota and Wisconsin were expecting less snow, but wind chills of -25 to -35 will continue into Friday morning across much of the state, the weather service said.

And a powerful storm was pounding parts of Colorado on Thursday with what could reach 16 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said. In some areas winds were gusting to 55 mph.


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