Name: Bobbi A.
Date: Sunday, October 27, 2002
Have two hurricanes ever collided and formed a single,
more powerful hurricane? Is it even possible or would wind shears cause
the hurricanes to disintegrate?
I believe the answer is yes, and a movie (and book??) entitled "The
Perfect Storm" gives an account of such an happening. The storms became more
Very rarely one hurricane does come near to another. In 1995 Hurricane Iris
merged with Tropical Storm Karen, so that they became one larger, although not more
Normally it is more likely that one storm will disintegrate in favor of the other.
Something that happens more commonly is that a hurricane will merge with a cold
front, either on the U.S. mainland or along the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean east
of the United States. This tends to result in enhanced rainfall and thunderstorm
activity, with the storm sliding northward along the leading edge of the front. This
effect has produced some of the heaviest rainfalls seen along the east coast of the U.S.
David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
Rarely do storms of this type "merge," and the result is a weaker rather
than a more powerful storm. What happens is that when two storms approach
such that one influences the other, the atmospheric circulations are
disrupted such that the wind velocities are lessened. The resulting storm
will probably be larger in area than either of the previous storms, and may
intensify if conditions are favorable.
To use an analogy, these storms are similar to "magnets" of the same
polarity...they tend to repel each other rather than attract. When they
approach too close, usually one of them will weaken dramatically, due to the
other one taking most of the energy necessary to sustain the hurricane force
Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO
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