On January 4, 2018 the East Coast of the U.S. experienced one of the worst winter storms the area had weathered in decades. Blizzard conditions and major coastal flooding brought way to a narrow window for winter surf.
But, what the fuck is a “bombogenesis”? Why were meteorologists throwing this word around? And how did Winter Storm Grayson go through such a transformation?
Who the hell ever knows about any of this shit until after it happens? We were certainly clueless, so we did some fireside research as our extremities thawed.
By meteorologist standards, Winter Storm Grayson was a “weather bomb”. So, when a storm of this type undergoes bombogenesis, the experts are talking about a rapidly intensifying area of low pressure.
“To be classified as a weather bomb, or having undergone bombogenesis or ‘bombing-out’, the central pressure of a low pressure system must drop at least 24 millibars within 24 hours,” according to Linda Lam, a meteorologist for Weather.com.
And Grayson did not just make the cut for bombogenesis qualification… This winter storm dropped 53 millibars in pressure in less than 24 hours–blowing the measley 24 millibar rate out of the water.
Millibars measure atmospheric pressure. However, for our purposes we’ll just call it a big bomb drop in atmospheric pressure in a short time span. In this case (as with many storms), the drop in pressure was caused by a huge cold front colliding with warmer water temperatures.
Snow fell in Northern Florida, and didn’t stop as it travelled up the coast. The storm dumped 12 to 18 inches in New Jersey, and even reached 22 inches in Maine (not to mention even deeper snow banks from bitter wind).
And ya, big waves.
The Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern Northeast surf spots received the most surfable waves, while the Northern Coast experienced intense blizzard conditions, and cold coastal flooding.
Jersey surfers found themselves checking waves throughout the day, however Grayson’s “weather bomb” status would not allow for a wide window of winter surf. Surfers like Rob Kelly and Andrew Gesler had to wait until the last light was being sucked away from the sky for the waves to finally clean up.
“It was hard to drive, hard to see and even harder to stay warm,” Andrew Gesler told Surfline. “We watched offshore waves bombing for an hour in hopes the snow would stop. It didn’t. With the day closing, it came time to say ‘f**k it, it ain’t snowing in the barrel’ and paddle out. Rob and I traded off on a couple that made it all worth it… usual story [laughs].”
On the other hand, the Outer Banks got it good for two days straight. Of course Brett Barley and Co. were on it, and produced one of the sickest East Coast edits we’ve seen in a while.
The intense storm provided the perfect swell pattern for the Outer Banks, and one of our favorite spots showed it’s true form. Reeling lefts dumping on sand, and Black Sabbath (finally in an East Coast edit) roaring in the background. It’s definitely worth a watch…