The Gulf of Mexico Is Preparing for Two Hurricanes to Collide — Here's What That Means

What happens if two hurricanes collide from opposite directions?

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Aug. 21 2020, Updated 2:21 p.m. ET

hurricane collide
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It seems as though we're currently in the brunt of hurricane season, with tropical storms wreaking havoc on coastal cities almost weekly. In fact, early next week, the forecast predicts that two storms will be blowing through the Gulf of Mexico at the same time, and obviously, those living in communities susceptible to tropical storms are wondering what will happen. Will the two storms cancel each other out, or join forces to create one massive storm?

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Stay tuned for everything we know regarding the seriously shocking phenomena of two hurricanes colliding. The result is unlike anything we've ever seen before.

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What happens when hurricanes collide? There are a few possible outcomes.

With two predicted tropical cyclones blowing through the Gulf of Mexico next week, many in tropical communities are worrying about what will happen if the storms ultimately collide. The prospect of the two storms joining forces is definitely harrowing, but apparently, it's happened on two previous occasions, according to WBRZ: once in 1933, and again in 1959. So, what does this mean for coastal cities and areas susceptible to tropical storms?

Apparently, when two hurricanes cross paths, they don't quite "team up" to create one massive storm, as one might imagine. They actually experience something called the Fujiwhara Effect, which was studied and founded by Sakuhei Fujiwhara, which shows what can happen when two hurricanes "collide." Sometimes, they start "dancing" around a center area, which can sometimes create an even larger wind storm. Yikes. 

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Other times, if one storm is stronger than the other, the smaller one will orbit around the larger storm until the larger storm absorbs it. However, if both hurricanes are somewhat close in strength, they will slowly gravitate towards each other, eventually reaching a common point, spin around each other and ultimately part ways. Therefore, the two storms never end up "join forces" at all.

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How are hurricanes formed? All of them form in the same exact way.

All hurricanes (aka tropical cyclones) are formed when warm, moist air rises up above the Atlantic or Pacific ocean from near the water's surface. Less air is left near the surface, which causes air containing higher air pressure from surrounding areas to start pushing into the low-pressure area. This air then starts becoming moist and rising, as well.

With an influx of warm air continuing to rise, surrounding air starts swirling in its place, and while warm, moist air is rising and cooling off, the clouds begin to form. The clouds and wind start spinning together, and voila! We have a hurricane. NASA's satellites can then track the storms, and the wind speed ultimately classifies what level hurricane it will be.

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tropical storm
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We're certainly hoping the Gulf of Mexico hurricane next week ends up blowing over (literally), and ultimately doesn't happen, but if the two storms come from opposite directions and collide, we now know what to expect. Needless to say, we'll be keeping up with the Doppler radar on the Weather Channel.

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