HOUSTON - By now, you know the weather term, "El Nino". But do you know, "El baile de la muerte"? Scientifically, this known as the, "Fujiwara effect." It's when two tropical cyclones get close enough to each other to start rotating around a common point between the systems. It's rare to witness, and about to happen!
This is one of those things you see not only in weather, but in space! When two stars get too close, they'll begin to, "orbit" in a common center. This is known as a binary system. It's like they're playing Ring Around the Rosie, holding hands ... before they all fall down. Eventually the stars merge, and the same is true for hurricanes. Only one remains standing.
Two eastern Pacific hurricanes named Hilary and Irwin, are located about 500 and 800 miles off the Baja, respectively -- and moving into the open Pacific. Because there's no threat to land, this provides a wonderful chance to observe and enjoy the meteorological wonder of this process.
As Hilary and Irwin draw closer to each other over the next few days, they'll start to, "feel" each other's pull of low pressure and eventually fall under the influence of each other's power. Instead of merging like soap suds in a bucket, they'll likely start rotating around each other Wednesday in this, "Fujiwhara effect". (Dr. Sakuhei Fujiwhara was a professor of meteorology in the early 20th century and is credited as first identifying this process.) By Sunday, one will be no more.
Who will, "win" is still a bit up for debate, but models overwhelming suggest the eastern-most hurricane, known as, "Hilary" will remain stronger longer than Irwin and eventually absorb the beleaguered cyclone.
It's an epic tale and one that's compels me to relay how many are personifying this:
"The dance of death"!
Perhaps because it's happening in the waters off of Mexico, it should be known as,
¡"El baile de la muerte"!
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