Hurricane Hilary recently hit the west coast of the United States. As a result, the National Hurricane Center (NCH) has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for several regions of Southern California.
California experienced an extremely wet winter due to numerous atmospheric river storms. They also faced the phenomenon of the “Fujiwhara effect” during one such storm. Then two areas of low pressure interacted.
The Fujiwhara effect
The Fujiwhara effect refers to a natural phenomenon when two hurricanes or cyclones rotate in the same direction and interact around a common center. This gives the impression that hurricanes or cyclones interact with each other in a dance-like manner. In this case, if one of the cyclones is stronger than the other, it can actually absorb the weaker one.
What happens when cyclones are of similar strength?
When cyclones are of similar strength, they can either rotate around each other or merge. In a few cases, two cyclones or hurricanes could merge to become a mega-cyclone. This can be extremely dangerous and difficult to handle.
Sakuhei Fujiwara, a Japanese meteorologist, first described the Fujiwara effect.
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Ways in which the Fujiwhara effect can happen
There are a number of ways in which the Fujiwhara effect can actually occur. These ways are:
In this form of interaction, usually only the direction of the storm changes. These are situations that are relatively demanding for donkeys and therefore require careful examination.
In this type of interaction, part of the smaller storm is lost in the atmosphere.
The next type of Fujiwhara effect is full stretching. As the name suggests, in such an interaction the smaller storm is completely lost in the atmosphere. Highlighting does not occur for storms of equal strength.
The next type of Fujiwhara effect to discuss is partial coupling. In this form of interaction, a smaller storm merges into a larger storm.
In this form of interaction, two storms of the same or similar strength are completely merged.
Why in the news?
California experienced at least twelve atmospheric river storms earlier this year. Two small low pressure regions were seen pulled together in a situation that appeared to be dancing, rather than merging together in one of these storms. A stronger area of low pressure proved to be dominant. This scenario was briefly seen as the Fujiwhara effect.
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