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Could two hurricanes actually run into each other?

Chief Meteorologist Jeff Haniewich tackles this interesting question

It has no doubt been an active Atlantic hurricane season so far, and we are not even at the peak of it yet.
It has no doubt been an active Atlantic hurricane season so far, and we are not even at the peak of it yet. (WSLS)

It has no doubt been an active Atlantic hurricane season so far, and we are not even at the peak of it yet. The peak of hurricane season every year is mid-September.

Your Local Weather Authority has been tracking two different systems in the tropics: Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen, which will likely become Tropical Storm Marco this weekend. Both are expected to strengthen into hurricanes at some point.

Here’s a look at the two tracks:

Track of Tropical Storm Laura
Track of Tropical Storm Laura (WSLS)
Track of Tropical Depression Fourteen
Track of Tropical Depression Fourteen (WSLS)

See anything interesting when you compare them here? Hmm... it looks like both of them are headed into Gulf of Mexico close to the same time.

Take a look below:

Tracks of Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen
Tracks of Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen (WSLS)

Could they actually run into each other?

I don’t think so, but it bears watching. I can’t rule out the prospect that they are close enough for one system to rob the other of some energy, which would allow one to strengthen and the other to weaken. It is also not out of the realm of possibility for something called the “Fujiwhara effect” to occur.

What is the “Fujiwhara effect”?

So, let’s get a little more in-depth into meteorology here. The “Fujiwhara effect” means that the two systems are so close to each other that they begin to spin around a common center, or around each other. But for two to become one? Not likely. It looks like they are a little too far apart and will be about a day away from each reaching the closest point to the other.

Regardless, south Florida all the way through Texas will want to keep a really close on the tropics this weekend into early-to-mid next week. We could have two tropical systems making landfall within about 24 hours of each other (on Tuesday and Wednesday).

Will we see any impact from any of these tropical systems?

It is too early to tell. If we were to see any rain from one or the other, it would be very late next week.

Please stay tuned!

Jeff


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