#SantaBomb: Catchy term means messy winter weather ahead for Toronto

·National Affairs Reporter
A jogger runs along ice-encrusted Lake Ontario on Monday south of Queen's Quay in Toronto. (CBC)
A jogger runs along ice-encrusted Lake Ontario on Monday south of Queen's Quay in Toronto. (CBC)

Winter is coming...alright it's here already, temperate though it may be.

And with winter comes, of course, winter weather. And conversations about winter weather. And more recently, funny words coined in order to emphasize and embellish the winter weather.

Remember a few years ago when "snowmageddon" became a thing serious people said in earnest?

Or last year, when the world was first introduced to the meteorological notion of a "weather bomb" in any discernible way?

Don't worry, the weather mongers of 2014 are no less creative. Introducing: the SantaBomb!

The fearfully festive phrase is being thrown out on social media and beyond, intended to describe a Christmas storm anticipated in Southern Ontario. Though, the nickname has been catchy enough to be adopted elsewhere as well.

What does it really mean? It means Christmas is going to have some lousy weather.

"It is going to be stormy around Christmastime, but I don't know if I'd be using the term 'bomb' to describe it," Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson told Yahoo Canada News.

Environment Canada is forecasting a messy snowstorm to hit the Toronto area on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day next week, with flurries of snow and rain mixed with high winds and moderate temperatures. All of this is expected to make matters pretty messy for the holiday season.

"If we're talking about Toronto and much of Southern Ontario, it looks like t is going to be a rain event in the days leading up to Christmas Day itself," Coulson said.

"The question that we're still going to be dealing with over the next few days is trying to get a sense of how quickly the cold air is going to come in behind the system on Christmas Day.... I'm calling it snow at this point, but it could be a combination of wet snow and rain on Christmas Day.”

Toronto faced a significant snow storm last year about this time, but this time around it is going to be more of a watery mess than a snow pile.

"The odds of having a white Christmas in the good part of southern Ontario is looking pretty slim at this point," Coulson said.

This NOAA satellite image taken Dec. 16, 2014 shows front moving into the West Coast (AP/NOAA)
This NOAA satellite image taken Dec. 16, 2014 shows front moving into the West Coast (AP/NOAA)

The term "SantaBomb" didn't originate from Environment Canada, of course. It was borne from the depths of Twitter, which spouts social media superlatives like a geyser. And it has been quickly popularized by those of us who like to complain about the weather, and complain about others who complain about the weather.

Its origins, however, come from an actual meteorological phenomenon known as a "weather bomb." According to the The Weather Network, that term refers to the sudden intensification of a low pressure system - often with explosive onsets of precipitation.

What this means for the days ahead is clear: Expect to see the hashtag thrown around for the next few days, and then mocked for a few more. Then it should resurface around Christmas Eve, when people start realizing the weather will have an actual impact on their holiday plans.

"Part of the reason we've seen it take on a life of its own on social media is the timing of this event," Coulson said. "We know a lot of folks are going to be out on the roads on the days leading into Christmas. On Christmas Day and Boxing Day, a lot of folks will be flying out to warmer places or other parts of North America.

"We've been going through a relatively quiet period weather-wise in Southern Ontario. Unfortunately it looks like the weather will begin turning active again."

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