‘Fujiwara Effect’ for Hurricanes Maria & Jose: What Does it Mean?

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Fujiwara dance hurricaneNational Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Maria is expected to become a hurricane at some point later today. As she continues her journey north west, she is expected to strengthen and she will likely become a Category 3 storm as she moves toward the Bahamas, impacting several Caribbean islands along the way.

The latest European models show her interacting with Hurricane Jose later on in the week, somewhere along the East coast (perhaps around the Carolinas). If you look at some of the latest graphics (below), the two storms appear to be twirling around one another in some odd fashion that resembles a dance. This interaction is called the “Fujiwara Effect” and it is considered fairly rare, especially in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The Fujiwara Effect is most commonly visible across the Pacific, and occurs when two or more tropical systems draw sufficiently near to interrupt each other’s traditional outflow/inflow pattern. Eventually, the upper-level outflow bands of one storm descend, are compressed, and warm up in temperature — soon acting as the inflow of the other. When this occurs, they become ‘pinwheel cyclones,’ and begin rotating around each other,” The Washington Post reported.

Take a look at the graphic below to see Maria and Jose interacting.

Although many meteorologists have been drawing attention to the Fujiwara, it is important to note that the latest models could be incorrect; they are predicting a possible track that is still 10 days out. If you remember what happened with Hurricane Irma earlier this month, her track changed significantly over the course of a week — so, anything can happen.

As for Maria’s projected path, she appears to skirt Florida, heading north once she passes through the Dominican Republic as a Category 3 storm by Tuesday. It is possible that she bringing nasty weather to North Carolina, however, which is why these models are being monitored very closely.