A ‘bomb cyclone’ is headed for the East Coast this weekend — here’s what to expect

The storm is expected to roll into the Northeast on October 29, exactly five years since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast (pictured here.)

The storm is expected to roll into the Northeast on October 29, exactly five years since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast (pictured here.)
Getty Images – WilliamThomas Cain
    A ‘bomb cyclone’ could be headed for the Northeast this weekend. Florida will start getting drenched on Saturday. Eastern New York and Pennsylvania are expected to get hit by the rapidly intensifying storm on Sunday. Flash floods and damaging winds are in the forecast.

The East Coast is bracing for a wind-whipped, rainy weekend as a potential “bomb” cyclone heads for the Northeast.

The National Weather Service is warning people along the Eastern seaboard to prepare for flash flooding, heavy rains, and tropical-storm-force winds as the first big fall storm hits the coast.

Heavy rain is expected to hit the Florida Keys starting Saturday, with the potential for 2-3 inches of rain in Miami and Fort Lauderdale before the “bomb” drops Sunday in the mid-Atlantic.

That’s when wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour could be headed towards New England, continuing into Monday.

NWS meteorologist Bob Orovec told Business Insider that some of the worst damage could hit eastern New York and Pennsylvania late in the day on Sunday, with the threat of flash floods and high winds from the Poconos through the Catskills. Some coastal flooding across Long Island and southeastern New England is also possible, extending north through Boston and along the entire Massachusetts shore line.

The forecast is still in flux, but everywhere from Maine down to Washington DC will probably get hit with some rain before the weekend is over. New York City is expecting a heavy dose on Sunday, exactly five years to the day since Hurricane Sandy pummeled the city.

NWS boston bomb cyclone

National Weather Service – Boston

Bomb Cyclone?

This storm won’t be as catastrophic as Sandy, but it has the potential to develop into a “bomb cyclone.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says storm “bombogenesis” happens when low-pressure systems rapidly intensify. If the surface pressure falls at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, it’s a bomb.

This occurs frequently when two separate storms slam into each other (for example, if a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass) and together, they create one super-strong bomb system.

This New England storm could get its special warm air boost from a tropical disturbance that is brewing in the Caribbean. It could dump more than four inches of rain in some spots.

NWS NE bomb cyclone sunday

National Weather Service – Eastern Region

Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have been suffering through a moderate drought this fall, but they’ve already been hit with some rain over the past two days. On Thursday, the National Weather Service in Boston said on Twitter that “recent rains have ‘recharged’ rivers to the point where more heavy rain may cause flooding.”

Here’s what the NWS expects rainfall totals to look like by Monday:

bomb cyclone update rain totals

NOAA Weather Prediction Center – National Weather Service

This story has been updated to reflect the latest forecast as of Friday afternoon.