It wasn't too long ago that the disastrous hurricane season of 2017 in the tropics came to an end. But now, many regions to the north are experiencing a similar type of extreme weather - only this time around, it's a lot colder and snowier.
Currently, Canada's Atlantic provinces and the eastern coast of the U.S. are being plagued by what experts are calling a "winter hurricane." Experts have even given the Nor'Easter storm a formal name: Winter Storm Grayson.
Like the devastating Hurricanes Irma and Jose that hit the Caribbean last year, Winter Storm Grayson will experience rapid drops in pressure (24 millibars or more within 24 hours, to be exact) that will produce intense hurricane-like winds. According to the Hurricane Research Division, Grayson is essentially a "bomb cyclone", an extra-tropical, low-pressure system associated with cold, warm and occluded fronts.
Perhaps the one major difference between a tropical hurricane and a bomb cyclone is that the former produces its strongest winds near the Earth's surface, while the latter does so 8 miles up. In the case of Grayson, Mashable noted some similarities the bomb cyclone has with Hurricane Sandy:
“Some computer models are projecting a minimum central air pressure of below 950 millibars at its peak, which would be nearly unheard of for this part of the world outside of a hurricane. For comparison, Hurricane Sandy had a minimum central pressure of about 946 millibars when it made its left hook into New Jersey in 2012.”
In the U.S., even states as far south as Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas have issue winter storm warnings as a result of Grayson. Blizzard conditions involving bone-chilling temperatures, snow and sleet are hammering the east coast all the way up to Canada.
Currently, the storm has headed northward to the Gulf of St. Lawrence where it is spreading snow across southern and eastern Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI and southern Newfoundland. Nova Scotia, on the other hand, is currently being bombarded with a heavy mix of rain and snow.
By Saturday, Grayson will move off the Labrador coast, but eastern Quebec, Newfoundland and the Maritimes will still continue to receive snow showers and gusty winds. Most areas will see around 30 cm of snow; however, as much as 60 cm can be expected for eastern Quebec, Gaspe and New Brunswick.
Southwestern and central Ontario will also feel the effects of Grayson. A slew of snow squalls will form off of Lake Huron this weekend, making for hazardous and potentially life-threatening conditions in areas like London and
Sarnia. Toronto is set to break a 59-year cold record as well, with wind chills dropping below -35.