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ETpro's avatar

Can two hurricanes collide with each other? If so, what happens if they do?

Asked by ETpro (34482points) September 19th, 2010

What effect would one have on the other if the steering currents brought them ever closer together? Would they merge and double in intensity? Would they tear each other apart? Would they dance around each other like galactic cores do when galaxies collide? Or would something else I can’t even imagine happen?

Are there any records of something like this actually occurring? If so, when and what happened in the real-world case?

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8 Answers

zophu's avatar

It’s called the Fujiwhara effect. Apparently the storms weaken each other when they interact and end up merging. It’s like marriage.

jaytkay's avatar

You mean like Coach Mike Ditka vs. Hurricane Ditka?

Seek's avatar

Wow, @zophu – That was a really interesting Wiki article.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Yes. It is scary business.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sure. In fact, that’s exactly what happened in the 80’s when the Andrea Gail went down. The movie “The Perfect Storm” is based on that. It’s a true story, and actually 3 hurricanes collided from 3 different directions.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III The Perfect storm was a merger of an extratropical low (what we in New England call a Nor’easter) with Hurricane Grace. All that was enhanced by interaction with the winds generated by an unusually powerful high pressure system stretching from Eastern Canada down toward Florida.

It happened in 1991, and you are quite right, it was a brutal, punishing storm. NOAA has a great detailed description of the storm and satellite images to show its development over time.

Brian1946's avatar


I had the good fortune of cutting in line in front of Tornado Butkus at O’Hare, and living to tell you about it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ETpro Thanks for the clarification!
@Brian1946 Aright! Let’s hear it!

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