Bombogenesis…it even sounds scary!

Winter so far has brought enough bitter cold and snow to make us believe that it’s serious this year. The snowshoeing has been great. I’m thinking of it as the start of training for next summer’s north woods adventure (still in the planning stages).

Berries at the edge of the swamp shone in a coat of ice last week.

The word “bombogenesis” had somehow escaped my notice for some 56 years…until yesterday. According to NOAA, the term describes the rapid intensification of a mid-latitude cyclone, measured by its drop in central atmospheric pressure. A drop of 24 millibars or more in 24 hours creates a bomb cyclone like Winter Storm Grayson, whose pressure dropped an incredible 59 millibars as it approached New England yesterday. Skies are still dark here, but soon I’ll head out to start shoveling my way to the garage and our snow blower. As of now, school is open with a 2-hour delay. 

Farewell small spots of bare ground, farewell to tracks and signs of life that laced the winter woods, farewell to quick and easy walking…soon all my trails must be won once more.

Around nine in the morning, the first powdery sprinkling of snow began dusting the ground. As I followed my favorite trail by the swamp to a far hill, I took a last look at the many animal tracks, almost memorized in my traipsing back and forth day after day. Dad had discovered the scene in the photo below, one sunny day last week. “There’s a story!” he exclaimed. Tiny prints of mouse or vole raced for the cover of a hole, the sweep of owl wings marking either the creature’s demise or narrow escape.


I ventured out again around one o’clock yesterday. The blizzard conditions were just starting, and snow was quickly reclaiming the forest, even a moving person. The particles bombarded me, an audible pelting against my parka. Once, a gust of wind gave a hint of the fury soon to follow and I thought of turning back, but didn’t. I was warm, the temperature thirty degrees warmer than on some recent days. At the same far hill, I turned around, the tracks I’d made already blurring into fluffy whiteness.

Trudging home, I could still faintly see depressions from the ski poles that my daughter Megan had used on Christmas week. Soon, they, too, would be buried, our ramblings just a pleasant memory of a week of family fun. The woods tomorrow will be all new.

10 thoughts on “Bombogenesis…it even sounds scary!”

  1. Beautifully written! The photo of owl wing patterns is awesome. I wouldn’t have figured out what had happened. Thank you for sharing your talents.. LIPEO, Mary

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Hi Mary, glad you liked this post. I’m sure you’ve been enjoying this marvelous snowy weather out on the slopes. It feels good to be back to writing after the busy holiday blur. Take care!


  2. How interesting I would have never know that about the owl and mouse. I enjoy your blogs very much. I have started reading the book not too far in yet, As I joined senior center here in Murfreesboro spend a lot of time there what I have read very interesting.Look forward to more of it.Been very cold here for me to be out much. I worry about all my family and friends in Maine.


    1. Judy, I’m so happy to hear that you have a circle of friends in TN. In this corner of Maine, we’re doing well. In many ways, battling the elements this time of year keeps me at least, energized and content. Miss you!


  3. I was out yesterday and experienced the same pelting. Out today in less fierce weather and out tomorrow in the blustery 2 degrees


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