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Bomb cyclone isn't the name of a garage band

“Bomb cyclone?” Would be interested in more on this characterization.

— Via email

We know, we know. It sounds like the name of that heavy metal band your friend played drums for in high school that you had to pretend was good.

The meteorological term, on the other hand, is a rapidly deepening area of low pressure, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Spilde.

More specifically, it’s a drop of 24 millibars — units of barometric pressure — in less than 24 hours.

“It’s a way to measure the lowness or highness of pressure in the atmosphere,” Spilde said.

Our bomb cyclone — the one that threw a monkey wrench into an already-busy Thanksgiving travel week — is an overachiever, doubling the required amount of pressure drop in a 24-hour period. At 4 p.m. Monday, the low pressure system was reading 1,020 millibars. By 4 p.m. Tuesday, it had dropped to 971.

“That’s a drop of almost 50 millibars in 24 hours,” Spilde said.

That rapid pressure drop resulted in really heavy winds along the southwest Oregon coast, with more than 100 mph gusts recorded at Cape Blanco, and gusts of around 70 at several other coastal sites.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.