How that bomb cyclone will affect us

California rains courtesy

By now you’ve heard about the bomb cyclone moving into the West coast -- called that because of such a rapid decrease in barometric pressure.

By definition, the pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours. The lower the pressure, the stronger the winds and stronger winds translate to wind energy. In this case, the storm was forecast to drop from 984 millibars to 942 millibars. Winds can increase to 115 mph with that kind of pressure, but this is not a hurricane. Hurricanes have their strongest winds around the eye, or center, while this is a different structure (cold core) and strongest wind are outward from the center. Bomb cyclones are more akin to nor’easters.

Still, no matter what you call it, this storm has brought flooding rains to Northern California, power outages, at least two fatalities from a falling tree, and eight feet of snow is forecast in the mountains. It’s a monster.

So what about us?

The system will settle down dramatically over the Rocky Mountains and arrive in Texas late Tuesday and Wednesday. Here’s the synoptic from the Weather Prediction Center for Wednesday morning with the front right in the middle of the state:

Front on the way for Wednesday!

The GFS American model and European model are in very good agreement that the front moves through our area Wednesday morning and afternoon. Here’s the rain shield for Wednesday afternoon from both models so if you’re heading to the World Series (lucky you), you’ll need an umbrella for pre-game festivals.

GFS Model courtesy
European model courtesy of

The good news is that we’re not expecting any flooding. Both models forecast less than two inches:

GFS model courtesy of
EURO model courtesy of

But it will get windy around here! Watch for 20 mph northerly winds and gusting even higher. Of course, that wind brings in a spectacular weekend for and dry! Here’s what your Thursday looks like and you can see the front to our east and high pressure building in from the west:

Those blue arrows I've drawn indicate the strong northerly winds
Thursday Forecast for Houston

So the Boys of Summer will play game one with summer conditions on Tuesday while Wednesday evening shifts to a cooler, breezier pattern. Watch parties this weekend will be amazing!

Go Astros!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.