SEP 12, 2017 1:09 PM PDT

The Science Behind the Fujiwhara Effect

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


Hurricanes are powerful forces of nature, but have you ever wondered what happens when two of them happen to run into one another?

While it doesn't happen all the time, it can happen. The phenomenon is dubbed the Fujiwhara Effect after Japanese meteorologist Sakuhei Fujiwhara.

The result of the two storms coming within proximity of each other depends on the sizes of each of the storms. In most cases, one of the following can happen:

• Two large storms get within 190 miles of one another and later merge into an even more significant storm
• A smaller storm gets within 900 miles of a larger one, and then the smaller storm begins to "orbit" the larger storm
• Two large storms get within 900 miles of one another create a binary tango effect in which they appear to 'dance' with one another

No matter what happens, it's important to note that this effect can change the course of the storm altogether. In fact, that's just what happened with both hurricanes Hillary and Irwin.

Understanding how these rare interactions happen and what results occur from them is important, especially since hurricane season is among us.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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