Neologisms from the "Blizzard of 2015"

Bombogenesis: a scientific term that the Weather Channel has popularized because it combines suggestions of the destructive power of heavy ordinance and associations with the Biblical story of the origins of life—that is, it suggests re-creation out of the maelstrom.

Here is the explanation from the Weather Channel’s website:

“Bombogenesis. The word sounds ominous, but in reality, the process happens fairly frequently in the world of weather.

“”Bombogenesis follows from cyclogenesis, which refers to the development of a cyclone (which, in turn, is usually synonymous with a low pressure system, or low),’ writes senior meteorologist Stu Ostro.

“’Bombs are so-named because of the rapidity with which they develop, which evokes explosiveness, and the power that they usually attain once they have gone through the intensification phase specified in the definition (a central pressure drop of at least 24 millibars, or 24 mbars, in 24 hours).’

“So what happens when a ‘weather bomb’ strengthens?

“Wind speeds increase and precipitation can become more intense, often creating heavy snowfall and potential blizzard conditions during winter storms. Heavy snow rates can also occur during bombogenesis, which is sometimes accompanied by lightning.”

Blizzicane: a storm that qualifies as both a hurricane and a blizzard.

According to the National Weather Service, a blizzard must meet three criteria it “must have sustained winds or frequent gusts that are greater than or equal to 56 km/h (35 mph) with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 400 m or 0.25 mi or less and must last for a prolonged period of time, typically three hours or more.”

A hurricane is “a storm with a wind of force 12 on the Beaufort scale, or equal to or exceeding 64 knots or 74 mph.

Snowmageddon: a compound of snow and Armageddon.

This compound of a neutral weather term with a highly charged term suggesting military and Biblical catastrophe is captured in the following opening in a piece on gloves published on the InsideHook website:

“Today goes by a lot of names.

“In the Northeast, ‘Snowmaggedon.’

“In North Dakota, ‘Tuesday.’

“Regardless, it’s glove weather across most of these United States. Warm glove weather.”

NoMageddon: The contributors to the discussion list of the American Dialect Society credit Nick Gillespie with this coinage, reflecting the storm’s failure to live up to the forecasts in much of the New York metro area.


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