Two Hurricanes in the Gulf at the same time? What would happen?

Meteorologist Charles Roop discusses what Fujiwara Effect and what it means for these two storms - if they both make it into the Gulf of Mexico at the same time
Published: Aug. 22, 2020 at 11:44 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - As we hit the peak of hurricane season, there are two tropical systems in the Atlantic basin that have the potential to be hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico - at the same time.

Yay, 2020!

But has this scenario happened before? There were some close calls, but no two hurricanes have been observed in the Gulf simultaneously during the satellite era.

There have also been questions about whether these two have been merging, including some questionable headlines on social media about these storms becoming “megastorms.” Will they merge to produce the most powerful and largest storm ever created?

No. No chance.

What would likely happen is something called the Fujiwhara Effect. In a nutshell, tropical cyclones that get close enough to each other can do more of a dance around one another with the weaker storm going around the stronger one. And this seems to happen more in the pacific than Atlantic.

As for “merging storms,” this doesn’t quite happen. But there was one instance in 1998 where a piece of a weaker sheared tropical storm was absorbed into a super typhoon as a rain band. Hurricane Wilma in 2005 also absorbed another decaying tropical system in the Atlantic basin.

If the forecast as of Friday afternoon holds, there is a chance that these could do a little dance. This dance could impact the forecast path of one of these storms. It is worth keeping an eye on these systems through the middle of next week.

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