Meteorologists: Christmas weekend storm system ‘once in a generation type of event’

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WATERTOWN — An “incredibly powerful” winter storm system also described by meteorologists as a “once in a generation type of event” is forecast to move through the area over the Christmas holiday weekend.

High winds, rain, snow and lake-effect snow accompanied by dramatically dropping temperatures are expected to impact the region starting Friday and continue through at least Sunday, Christmas Day.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Buffalo said in a forecast discussion Tuesday that “Some of the parameters of this intense storm are climatologically ‘off the charts,’” including the potential for record-setting low barometric pressures.

The service said the deepening low-pressure system moving into the area on Friday will “easily” meet the definition of a bombogenesis in which atmospheric pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. The phenomenon, also known as a “bomb cyclone,” is relatively rare in the lower Great Lakes, according to meteorologists.

After uneventful weather Wednesday, the service says conditions will begin to deteriorate late Thursday. Thursday’s temperatures are expected to be in 40s, resulting in most precipitation falling that day as rain, although a wintry mix could be seen in some locations as temperatures begin to drop.

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