"Take this storm seriously! This is a LIFE & DEATH situation." That was the warning from National Weather Service—as quoted by CNN—ahead of what could be another "bomb cyclone" to hit the East Coast. The last bomb cyclone—which occurs when the atmospheric pressures drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours—wreaked havoc on the Atlantic coast in January. This new storm—dubbed Winter Storm Riley by the Weather Channel—is forecast to be the worst since then and could hit a 900-mile stretch from northern Georgia to southern Maine on Friday and Saturday, USA Today reports. With pressure expected to drop steeply Friday evening, another bomb cyclone is a distinct possibility.
Experts are warning of flooding, strong winds, and heavy rain. With tides already high due to the full moon, storm surges of up to 4 feet and waves as high as 8 feet are possible. Eastern Massachusetts and southern Maine are expected to get the worst of the flooding, and Boston Harbor may see its highest peak tide levels in at least 58 years. The Massachusetts governor has activated 200 National Guard members, and coastal communities are being warned of potential evacuations. The National Weather Service is also warning of hurricane-force winds for most of Massachusetts. Meanwhile, up to 5 inches of rain is predicted for some areas, and blizzard conditions are possible in parts of Pennsylvania. Power outages and flight delays are likely. And a second major storm could hit in the middle of next week. Is it summer yet? (Read more winter storm stories.)