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Long Island snowstorm achieved 'bombogenesis' status, NWS says

Town of Hempstead resident Don Belger takes advantage of

Town of Hempstead resident Don Belger takes advantage of the heavy snowfall while cross country skiing at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. 

Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The winter storm system that clobbered the region Thursday didn’t just bring a lot of snow — it also achieved “bombogenesis” status by the time it reached Long Island from Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service.

Bombogenesis is an unofficial term used to describe when the central pressure in a storm system drops by 24 millibars or more within 24 hours, said Bruce Sullivan, a meteorologist with the service’s Weather Prediction Center in Maryland.

The rapid drop in pressure results in extreme storm conditions, including fierce winds and heavy snowfall.

“It’s just a sign of a very rapidly intensifying storm system,” Sullivan said. “The effects are widespread.”

While the storm draped snow across Long Island — up to 14.4 inches in some areas — this area only experienced the tail end of the system’s bombogenesis, which began in Kentucky before moving off the mid-Atlantic and into Suffolk and Nassau counties.

By 1 p.m. Sunday, the system’s pressure dropped 14 millibars on Long Island, Sullivan said. The decrease was significant, but not enough to say Long Island experienced the full extent of a bombogenesis.

Long Island also had reports of thundersnow — thunder claps occurring during snowfall — in Upton and Hauppauge, according to the weather service.

“It’s the same idea as when we get a thunderstorm in the summer and it’s raining,” said Faye Barthold, a meteorologist with the agency’s Upton office. “You have a lot of instability in the atmosphere that contributes to the weather.”

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