JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A rare weather event is taking place in the Pacific - one hurricane (John) is devouring a smaller Tropical Storm (Ileana.)
It's called the Fujiwhara effect. According to NOAA, when two hurricanes spinning in the same direction pass close enough to each other, they begin an intense dance around their common center. If one hurricane is a lot stronger than the other, the smaller one will orbit it and eventually come crashing into its vortex to be absorbed.
Two storms closer in strength can gravitate towards each other until they reach a common point and merge, or merely spin each other around for a while before shooting off on their own paths. But often, the effect is additive when hurricanes come together — we usually end up with one massive storm instead of two smaller ones.
Chances are high that we witness a rare event in tropical meteorology: the merging of two tropical cyclones.#Ileana and #John may both become hurricanes prior to forming a binary system, but #Ileana will likely weaken within the vortex-scale shear of the larger #John. pic.twitter.com/dBPDIX8Nsp— Levi Cowan (@TropicalTidbits) August 6, 2018
The final advisory for the remnants of Ileana was issued Tuesday,
Early morning GOES-16 one-minute satellite imagery confirms that the small circulation of Ileana has dissipated within the northern portion of Hurricane John's larger circulation. As a result, this is the final NHC advisory on Ileana. The remnants of the tropical cyclone are likely producing an area of tropical-storm-force winds that should gradually decrease in intensity as it rotates around the northern and northwestern portion of John during the next few hours.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Hector is also swirling in the Pacific as an impressively organized Category 4 hurricane. Hector is expected to pass 200 miles South of the big island of Hawaii on Wednesday.