NEWS

Will the Bay Area get hit by the imminent bomb cyclone?

The scene is set for a bomb cyclone to fall hundreds of miles off the coast of Northern California, and in the worst case it hits the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with a strong storm headed in this direction and hitting late Wednesday.

A bomb cyclone is an event in which the pressure of a storm drops very rapidly when cold air collides with warm air, and if this aptly named bomb outbreak occurs over land, it will strengthen the rotation of the cyclone and create a large It causes confusion.

That happened during a massive winter storm that hit much of the country just before Christmas, but California doesn’t see the hurricane-like winds and severe weather conditions experienced by its East Coast counterparts.
“In this case, this would blow up the open ocean,” said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, adding that he expects it to reach 500 to 800 miles offshore.
However, the violent system produces strong atmospheric rivers and cold fronts that hit the Bay Area and other parts of Northern California.
A few inches of rain is possible around the bay, where the soil is already saturated from the New Year’s Eve storm. Saturday night’s deluge registered more than 5 inches of rain in San Francisco. That’s just short of San Francisco’s all-time record for rainfall in a single day.
Even if the bomb cyclone boosted the incoming storm, it would be “comparable to the strongest storms of the kind seen in a typical winter,” so the record is unlikely to fall.

Current weather patterns, including a string of rainstorms, are pushing precipitation far above the state’s seasonal average, giving the drought-stricken state what Swain calls “water-climate whiplash.”

Technically, despite floods, levee breaches, landslides, and bomb cyclones looming offshore, we are still in a La Niña year, which usually means dry winters, and a drought that continues.
“Something in the tropics is mimicking El Niño in the atmosphere, not the ocean,” Swain said. “Droughts can cause floods.”
Jill Tucker is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: jtucker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @jilltucker

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