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'Bomb cyclone' cripples US, Canada: No travel, no power, no Christmas

Darkness has descended on most of the US from the Great Lakes to Mexican border and from the Appalachian mountains in the east to the Rockies mountains in the west without power, and large swathes have gone under the snow. Several thousands of flights have been cancelled due to the howling blizzards and zero-visibility in the past few days and medical services are unable to operate sans accessibility. A fast-moving Guv Kathy Hochul has already declared emergency in New York and closed vulnerable airports. Christmas is washed out.

The story is no different in Canada, coming nearer to the pole where the cold vortex cycle has been blasted off (Arctic blast) by the hot winds from an Atlantic, warmed up due to climate change.

The life-threatening situation will continue for several days more. Too taxing for the hypothalamus!

WASHINGTON, Dec 25: Large swathes of the US has been battered by a strongest-ever winter storm called 'bomb cyclone', bringing down temperatures to below freezing point and causing widespread travel disruption leading to a washout of Christmas festivities. Twenty two people have died.

It was the coldest Christmas Eve in the US in recent memory.

Medical and other emergencies are helpless as they cannot reach those in distress with the roads going under the snow.

As the storm lashed across most of the country bringing alongwith blizzards, freezing rain and floods, power supply to around 1.9 million homes and offices were snapped on Saturday. The New England States, Pennsylvania and North Carolina were the most affected. There was coastal flooding. It was a white- out in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan too.

The severe winter storm was caused by the blast of the cycle of cold wind around the north pole vortex by the warm winds from the Atlantic in the south and a consequent low atmospheric pressure across the land mass, said to be caused by climate change.

The National Weather Service has given "one of the greatest extents of winter weather warnings and advisories ever" to 200 million people or 60 per cent of the US population.

From the Great Lakes near Canada to Texas or down Mexican border and from the Appalachian mountains along the east coast to the Rockies mountains along the west end was battered by the storm. There is a threat of inundated areas in the north-east getting frozen. "A dangerously cold wind chills across much of the central and eastern US" has been forecast.

According to FlightAware, over 7,000 flights were delayed and 3,000 flights cancelled. Visibility was near-zero. Road travel too has become hazardous. There were deaths due to pile-ups and crashes at many places in the past few days.

Governor Kathy Hochul was, as usual, quick to declare a state of emergency in New York and close some airports like the one in Baffalo as a precaution.

In the January 2014 polar vortex, temperatures had tumbled to -50 deg C (- 58F).

What is a 'bomb cyclone'

A 'bomb cyclone', caused by what is termed in meteorology as “bombogenesis”, is a quickly intensifying cold storm that occurs when air pressure drops within a day cycle. It will have a devastating effect. In this phenomenon, a warm air mass collides with a cold one. In the present case of the unprecedented snow storm over North America, the Atlantic warm winds collided with the circling cold wind around the vortex of the north pole, blasting off the 'bomb cyclone' towards the land mass where the atmospheric pressure has gone down because of the formation of the warm oceanic winds.

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