A model Fujiwhara!

The next name on the list is Hilary

HOUSTON – A question I’ve gotten over the years seems pretty simple: What happens if two hurricanes happen right next to each other? Do they bump each other? Does one take over the other one? Does that become one really giant hurricane?

Obviously, we don’t have a lot of real-time data on just what happens because it’s pretty rare. Here’s two typhoons in the Pacific from 2009 getting cozy:

CREDIT: NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

And just two years ago, Odette and Seroja did this dance:


Seroja absorbed Odette, strengthened, and went into Australia as one of the deadliest storms on record. You can see the two storm circle each other before Odette loses its identity. This is known as the Fujiwhara effect, named after the Japanese meteorologist, Sakuhei Fujiwhara, who first described this in a 1921 paper.

So why am I bringing all this up today? Because I noticed on this morning’s run of the American Model, a Fujiwhara effect occurs between two Pacific tropical storms next week! Here’s a look at that model run as a still and in motion. I’ve circled and numbered the two storms:

CREDIT: tropicaltidbits.com

Now check this out in motion and you’ll see storms one and two circle each other, storm two takes over storm one and becomes a bigger, stronger hurricane:

CREDIT: tropicaltidbits.com

HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?! You’re welcome!

By the way, this probably won’t actually happen but that fact the model picks up on the possibility is awesome!

Enjoy your week and stay cool!


Email me with questions and comments.

About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.