The Nor'easter storm pummeling the North East could become a "bomb cyclone." Here's what that means.

Credit: Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

The nor'easter winter storm bringing heavy winds, flooding and snow to the Northeast could quickly turn into what meteorologists call a "bomb cyclone" as the storm bears down on New England and other parts of the East Coast. The storm, named Winter Storm Riley, developed overnight Thursday, bringing pouring rain to New York and New England that continued into Friday.

The storm is currently going through bombogenesis and could bring harsher conditions to the region, according to The Weather Channel. Here's what a bomb cyclone is and what it means for the nor'easter hitting Boston, New York and much of the East Coast.

What is a bomb cyclone?

A bomb cyclone occurs when a storm drops 24 millibars of atmospheric pressure over a 24-hour period. The drop in pressure can intensify the storm to explosive levels.

What weather does a bomb cyclone bring?

As a bomb cyclone develops, the risk for coastal flooding is high, in this case in areas surrounding Boston and southern New York. According to the National Weather Service, the storm is expected to move across the region on Friday and Saturday, bringing heavy rain to southern New England and southern New York. The NWS says runoff from the rain can cause minor flooding.

Will the bomb cyclone hit New York and Boston?

Yes, the bomb cyclone is expected to land in New York and Boston, bringing significant rain to the area, especially along the coast. The National Weather Service in Boston cautioned people to "take this storm seriously!"

"This is a LIFE & DEATH situation for those living along the coast, esp those ocean-exposed shorelines," the service said.

The bomb cyclone is expected to move slowly through the region, so the rain and flooding could last for days.