BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WETM) – Over in California, severe weather has recently struck the state with heavy rainfall, flooding, mudslides, and damaged trees and houses.

The series of severe weather events across California have started with an atmospheric river, which then transitioned into a bomb cyclone. What is the difference between the two?

An atmospheric river is a long, narrow plume of concentrated moisture high in the atmosphere. This weather phenomenon typically forms in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast. When an atmospheric river reaches landfall, the moisture rises and cools, transforming into massive amounts of rain and snow.

A bomb cyclone, on the other hand, has more “spin” to it. This is because a bomb cyclone can be thought of as a strong low pressure system, or an area of counterclockwise rotation.

“You may have heard of…a low pressure system, which is pretty common,” said Ben Lott, Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Binghamton. “A bomb cyclone is actually one of those, but it is…a decrease in pressure of 24 millibars or more in a 24-hour period. As the pressure drops like it does in a bomb cyclone, it does so significantly. It quickly strengthens into a stronger system.”

Meteorologists say the bomb cyclone has a low chance to affect the Twin Tiers because the storm will weaken in the Rocky Mountains before it reaches the Great Plains. Despite this, the low pressure system associated with the bomb cyclone could still affect weather patterns near the east coast. The rainfall will not be as strong, but there can still be enough moisture collected for rainfall to happen.

Check out the 18 Storm Team for a look at this week’s forecast.