Have you ever wondered what happens when two cyclones get a little too close to each other? As we’re witnessing off the coast of Mexico this week, it can be strangely beautiful. Tropical Storms Irwin and Hilary are nearing each other, and when they meet, they will engage in what is called a Fujiwhara dance, where two storms tango around each other until the stronger “eats” the weaker storm.
A Fujiwhara dance occurs when two storms get close enough for their circulations to impact one another – about 600 miles apart, depending on the size of the storm. This particular storm looks like bad news for Irwin – scientists expect the two storms to whirl around each other like a giant fidget spinner before Irwin weakens and is consumed by Hilary.
Fujiawhara storms are not that common, but this summer we’ve already had two. Last week, Typhoon Noru and the former Tropical Storm Kulap danced it out, resulting in Kalup’s death. The presence of two separate colliding storms is unheard of and it is likely due to the fact that we are having a much higher than average number of storms in the Pacific this year, an instance that many scientists believe is due to global warming.