What is Fujiwhara Effect?

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What is Fujiwhara Effect? Blog Image


Recently, powerful winds tormented the Bay Area and other parts of Central and Southern California, uprooting trees and disrupting the power supply due to Fujiwhara effect.

About Fujiwhara Effect:


  • It was identified by a Japanese meteorologist Sakuhei Fujiwhara.
  • It was observed for the first time over the western Pacific Ocean, when typhoons Marie and Kathy merged in 1964.
  • What is it?
    • When two hurricanes (or cyclones, depending on where you live), spinning in the same direction, are brought close together, they begin ‘an intense dance around their common center’ – this interaction between two cyclones is called the Fujiwhara effect.
  • When it Occur?
    • If one hurricane’s intensity overpowers the other, then the smaller one will orbit it and eventually crash into its vortex to be absorbed.
    • On the other hand, if two storms of similar strengths pass by each other, they may gravitate towards each other until they reach a common center and merge, or merely spin each other around for a while before shooting off on their own paths.
    • In rare instances, the two ‘dancing’ cyclones, if they are intense enough, may merge with one another, leading to the formation of a mega cyclone capable of wreaking havoc along coastlines.
  • Experts have noted the rising frequency of this unusual effect, attributing it to a rapidly warming world and the subsequent heating of ocean waters.


Q1) What is  a hurricane?

It is a large and powerful tropical cyclone characterized by strong winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, and the potential for widespread damage. Hurricanes are known by different names in various parts of the world: "hurricane" in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, "typhoon" in the western Pacific, and "cyclone" in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific.

Source: The Fujiwhara effect: When cyclones ‘dance’