Winds as strong as those of a tropical storm pummeled New England on Thursday, as a storm known as a bomb cyclone knocked out power and promised to disrupt travel in the region through the end of the workweek.
The storm “parked over southern New England with the pressure equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane” for much of Thursday, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
Thousands of customers from New York to Maine were still without electricity as of Thursday night, according to PowerOutages.us. And more than 100 flights have been canceled Thursday at Boston Logan International Airport, while more than 230 have been canceled at New York’s John F. Kennedy & LaGuardia airports, FlightAware.com reports; more delays and cancellations are expected through late Friday.
Wind gusts of up to 50 mph punished New England for much of Thursday, while New York City, Boston, and Portland, Maine, felt winds of at least 39 mph — the low end of tropical-storm force — with stronger gusts.
Provincetown, on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, has already been lashed with winds of 90 mph. Boston Logan recorded gusts of 70 mph overnight into Thursday, and gusts atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire were clocked at 125 mph.
Even as rain from the bomb cyclone pushed out on Thursday, flood watches and warnings remain in place in some parts of New England.
Bomb cyclone breaks records
A bomb cyclone is a storm that strengthens really fast. To earn the title, its pressure generally must drop 24 millibars (a unit that measures pressure) within 24 hours. The word “bomb” is used because of the explosive power these storms derive from rapid pressure drops.
The storm that hammered the Northeast blew well past meteorologists’ standard: Its pressure dropped 24 millibars in just 14 hours — and plummeted 35 millibars over 24 hours.
Indeed, the system broke low-pressure records for October in Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; Hartford, Connecticut; and Portland.
The storm’s heaviest rain fell in Connecticut, where over 6 inches was recorded. New England and upstate New York got 2-4 inches of rain and the Mid-Atlantic states got 1 to 2 inches.
Eastern US dips into chillier temperatures
High temperatures Thursday for the eastern half of the United States will be 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit below average as a cold front pushes in. That could turn lingering rain to snow in upstate New York.
The bomb cyclone is the second coastal storm to impact New England in a week. Last week’s storm sat off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic, churning up seas and bringing a strong onshore wind that shredded beaches up and down the East Coast. It caused costly damage due to beach erosion and coastal flooding.
‘Thor landed in my backyard’
Residents across the Northeast, who witnessed the storm’s strength firsthand, have been sharing dramatic images and videos on social media.
Early Thursday morning, George Brennan shared a photo of a mangled trampoline that had torn through a fence in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
And in Biddeford, Maine, resident Colby Thomas shared footage of power lines exploding in a shower of sparks.
Rebbecca Casserly of Everett, Massachusetts, woke to a loud sound around 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday.
Casserly made sure her sister was OK and then opened her back door, where she found a tree from her neighbor’s yard, laying on her house, blocking the path to her backyard.
“It was as if Thor landed in my backyard,” she said. “The scariest sound to be woken by. It sounded like something crashed into the house and it shook the house.”