How to Survive a Bomb Cyclone

Google “bomb cyclone.” Always be aware of what you’re dealing with when a new-to-you type of weather threatens. From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: A bomb cyclone occurs when a weather system’s atmospheric pressure drops incredibly rapidly, causing it to quickly increase in strength and whipping up hurricane-level winds and often heavy snow over a broad area.

As horrific as Bomb Cyclone sounds, don’t bend yourself out of shape. Only wusses panic. Practically speaking, you can’t do much beyond what you’d normally do to prepare for a regular nor’easter. Despite hailing from California, you are a veteran of blizzards after living in New Jersey for four winters and even-snowier Massachusetts for three; you got this.

Take inventory of your supplies. As a seasoned winter storm person, you already know you have enough warm clothes, blankets, flashlights, snow shovels, and scrapers. You even own a battery-operated emergency radio, alternatively powered by a crank if you run out of batteries, which you won’t. You aren’t incompetent; you will buy more batteries well before Bomb Cyclone if your stash runs low. Make sure you have an adequate supply of bottled drinking water because your pipes will almost certainly burst if you lose electricity, especially during the ensuing Polar Vortex super-subzero temperatures. Don’t waste time surveying your always plentiful wine cache.

At least two days before the storm, stop by Home Depot and replenish your supply of Ice Melt or whatever equivalent product will keep people from slipping on your driveway and suing your pants off for causing their personal injury. That is the last thing you need after throwing out your back shoveling massive amounts of snow. Now is also the time to stock up on batteries, if needed.

Two days before the storm, shop for groceries. Go for broke and hit up both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s since you’re ahead of the crowds. Buy enough food to feed fifty percent more people than you actually have for three days, more than enough nourishment considering you also keep a pantry full of nonperishables and you’ve never been stormbound for greater than two consecutive days. Don’t forget the matches. You can cook on your gas stove if the power goes out, but only if you have the ability to light the burners.

The day before the storm, gas up all the cars, even the convertible that sits idle in the garage, hooked to a trickle charger. This sounds like an extreme measure, but you know having lived in New Jersey, just inland of where Superstorm Sandy crash-landed, that when all the nearby towns lose power for more than a few days, gas becomes scarce. Do all the laundry, run the dishwasher, charge your electronics. Take a long hot shower.

Look out the window. The mid-afternoon sun casts long shadows. The trees stand motionless, the proverbial calm before the storm hits the next morning. Congratulations! You are ready for Bomb Cyclone with time to spare! The rest is out of your control. Relax.

Second-guess yourself. Return to Whole Foods in a panic because you didn’t buy enough food. Circle the parking lot for fifteen minutes before slipping into a newly vacated spot. Filter through the bottleneck of humanity to finally gain entry. Wander up and down the aisles, wondering what you need; it doesn’t matter, the shelves are mostly depleted. As you pass the bread section, you pause. You bought enough bread yesterday, but there are only two loaves left in the entire store. Looking from left to right, you see an older lady with a cane, a harried mother with toddler twins in tow, and a business man in a rumpled suit, all homing in on the bread. Grab both loaves and put them in your basket.

Just kidding. Whatever you do, never go anywhere near a grocery store the day before a big storm. And if you must, definitely don’t act like a panicked jerk.

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16 Responses to “How to Survive a Bomb Cyclone”

  1. Parul ThakurJanuary 9, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

    Never heard of Bomb Cyclones and like you said, I googled. Feels like a cold and scary thing. I have never experienced a something as severe as this one sounds. Bangalore does get its share of heavy rains when the coastal areas of India develop a low pressure region but till date it has been manageable.

    Loved your writing – it was personal and informational. You built a story around it which made me curious and I felt that was a good style of writing. Great post!

    • StacieJanuary 9, 2018 at 9:00 pm #

      Thanks Parul! I have experienced many different “new” types of weather since moving from California to the northeastern part of the US. It’s not always fun. The bomb cyclone ended up feeling just like a regular blizzard where we were. It was windy but the hurricane-force winds were offshore and not inland due to where the center of the storm was. Phew!

  2. MelonyJanuary 10, 2018 at 1:09 am #

    I loved reading all of this. Hailing from Texas, and now living in Australia, I have never experienced a snowstorm, or anything quite like this. I’d like to think I would be prepared but that gas thing was something new to me. Sounds like you survived alright, so go you! hehe 🙂

    • StacieJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:34 pm #

      I’m from California so I had to spend the last 7 years learning! But this storm was more like a regular blizzard where I was since the hurricane-force winds were offshore. It sounded worse than it actually was (at my house, anyway).

  3. JolanJanuary 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

    This was a fantastic guide for highly trumped up event in the Northeast. I live in NY and it was bitterly cold and the grocery stores took a beating beforehand. I’m glad that you survived and kept your humanity intact. This was a fun read.

    • StacieJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:35 pm #

      Glad you survived too! It was anticlimactic here but people still always panic at the store the day before, which is why I avoid that mess!

  4. ashaJanuary 10, 2018 at 8:39 pm #

    Stacie, instructional lists are definitely your jam! This was great. I loved the injection of humour throughout too. The only concrit I have to offer is that I would have liked to see the actual instructional sentence (Google “Bomb cyclone”, Take inventory of your supplies, etc.) be highlighted in some way so they stood out from the body of text that followed. I especially loved your addendum. That’s a motto for life: don’t act like a panicked jerk.

    • StacieJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:36 pm #

      Aww thanks. And also, that is a great suggestion. It didn’t occur to me to highlight 🙂

  5. Michelle HJanuary 10, 2018 at 10:46 pm #

    The section about deciding at the last minute to go to the store again was so funny. It made me think of the days after Hurricane Harvey when there were lines at the gas stations and no bread – and I’m 4 hours from anywhere that was affected. I found the opening paragraph to be a bit jarring. The description of the bomb cyclone didn’t seem to fit the tone of the rest of the piece.

    • StacieJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:39 pm #

      People always panic the day before, which is why I’ve learned to do most things a day earlier. The first paragraph is the actual definition of a bomb cyclone. I didn’t embellish. But also, the point is that it’s jarring – it’s part of the reason so many people were panicking.

  6. Amy BeeJanuary 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

    Fun piece. The instructional nature does well with the content. Nice, even tone. I enjoyed!

    • StacieJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:41 pm #

      Thank you, Amy!

  7. Danielle DayneyJanuary 11, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

    I love the funny nature of this! My favorite line by far: You bought enough bread yesterday, but there are only two loaves left in the entire store. Looking from left to right, you see an older lady with a cane, a harried mother with toddler twins in tow, and a business man in a rumpled suit, all homing in on the bread. Grab both loaves and put them in your basket.

    No one is going to need the damn bread anyway! Make them all suffer. HA! I have been living somewhere on the east coast since 2009 and I still don’t understand why people buy so much damn bread when there’s a storm coming.

    • StacieJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:45 pm #

      Right? And just all the other things flying off the shelves too. What, do you think you won’t be able to go to the store for a week? People are so weird.

  8. LisaJanuary 11, 2018 at 3:11 pm #

    I like your self-deprecating humor here, Stacie. It’s so relatable!

    • StacieJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:47 pm #

      <3 You should read the one about me fixing my toilet, lol (yes, it's a real post). But thank you. I've struggled sometimes with humor so it feels good when it works.

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