Old Man Winter is about to deliver a storm system so powerful it's being referred to as a "bomb cyclone," a "snow hurricane," or simply a "weather bomb," meteorologists warn. Most forecast models predict that the storm currently forming off the East Coast will largely remain offshore, though it will still be fierce enough to give New England strong winds, heavy snowfall, and record-breakingly cold temperatures Thursday, CNN reports. Winter weather warnings are already in place from Massachusetts all the way to Florida, where cities including Tallahassee are expecting their first substantial snowfall in years. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 28 counties.
Forecasters believe that "bombogenesis" will happen over Wednesday and Thursday in an area of low pressure as it moves from off the east coast of Florida toward Canada's Maritime Provinces. It will be considered a "bomb" if its central air pressure plummets by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, Mashable explains. Forecasters believe the storm could easily exceed that measure, developing hurricane-force winds and becoming one of the strongest winter storms on record in the region. The NOAA warns that the system will bring a mixture of freezing rain, sleet, and snow from northern Florida to North Carolina and heavy snow from the mid-Atlantic states to New England, where blizzard conditions are possible Thursday if the storm comes close enough. (Dangerously low temperatures have already broken records in many parts of the country.)