A WEATHER watchdog is warning people to batten down the hatches as the North East braces itself for gale-force winds.
The Met Office has issued a ‘be aware’ weather warning as winds of up to 70mph are set to batter the region today – and snow could also arrive tomorrow.
The bad weather is due to a rapid cyclogenesis – which is also known as ‘weather bomb’ – a deep low pressure system moving slowly eastwards between Scotland and Iceland.
The Met Office is predicting temperatures of no higher than 6°C today.
However, the wind chill factor will make it feel more like -3°C.
While tomorrow the thermometer will see highs of 5°C, and a chance of snow is expected between 6am and 9am.
Saturday is expected to be the coldest with highs of just 3°C, and a wind chill factor of -5°C.
WEATHER BOMBS EXPLAINED
Weather bombs are violent winds created by very rapidly falling pressure in a frontal depression.
The Met Office, which prefers the term explosive cyclogenesis, said such phenomena were significant for the speed of the pressure drop rather than their destructive power.
They occur where the barometer has fallen by 24 millibars in less than 24 hours.
The so-called Hurricane Bawbag, which hit Scotland three years ago yesterday, was among those given “bomb” status.
The storm triggered the Met Office’s first red weather warning, with 165mph winds over Cairn Gorm and 60,000 homes left without power, but it caused far less damage than had been feared.
In the United States, the Washington Post reported in February 2010 that a weather bomb had “exploded” over the east coast, with winds of up to 94mph and nearly 2ft of snow dumped on Central Park in New York, notching up a record monthly snowfall.
Meteorologist Cindy Day, of Canadian TV station CTV Atlantic, described an east coast storm in December 2011 as a “textbook weather bomb”.
Moving in from Cape Cod, it blanketed New Brunswick with 25cm (10in) of snow and drenched Nova Scotia with 70mm (28in) of rain, amid hurricane-force gusts.
However, some people have taken advantage of the extreme conditions created by such bombs.
Surfer Garrett McNamara broke a world record on a 111ft wave off Portugal caused by storm Jolle in January 2013, in which the pressure dropped by 58 millibars in 24 hours.