Jim's Blog

The Fujiwhara Effect – When Hurricanes Collide : A Well Thought Out Scream by James Riordan

HC11I know what you’re thinking when you see these weather maps with four huge hurricanes swirling around — what happens if they collide?  Of course, if you live in the path of one of these monsters, that thought practically paralyzes you with fear.  For those of us who have no loved ones in that path, there is a morbid curiosity that arises.  What if four big hurricanes joined together to became A GIANT HURRICANE?  I mean, since hurricanes are already huge, what kind of destruction would something that big create.  Well, the good news is you don’t have to worry about that thanks to a man named Sakuhei Fujiwhara.  Mr. Fujiwhara was a Japanese meteorologist who studied this idea intensely and wrote about it in a 1921 paper about the motion of vortices in water.


HC1Sakuhei Fujiwhara (then)

HC2 Sakuhei Fujiwhara (now)

HC4Basically, when huge storms come with 900 miles of each other, their centers will begin orbiting cyclonically (counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere) about a point between the two systems (while the Fujiwhara Effect is the same in nontropical zones as it is in tropical zones, the storms may begin interacting with 1, 200 miles of each other in a nontropical zone instead of the 900 miles in tropical zones). The two storms will be drawn to each other, and eventually merge.  Scientists differ over whether this is due to the divergent portion of the wind or vorticity advection. When the two vortices are of unequal size, the larger vortex will tend to dominate the interaction, and the smaller vortex will orbit around it.   Eventually the smaller hurricane will evaporate into the larger, but this combination does not increase the power or voracity of the larger storm.  Two smaller storms may combine to make a slightly larger one, but when two large storms combine, the smaller of the two basically disappears without having a significant effect.  This phasing out of the smaller storm usually occurs when the systems are within 300 kilometres (190 mi) of one another.

   Tropical cyclones Yule and 16W merging, in August 1997                   


Following are some examples of the  Fujiwhara Effect broken down by regions..

North Atlantic

President Benigno S. Aquino III inspects the preparations for the state funeral of former Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo at the Kalayaan Hall, Malacañan Palace on Thursday (August 23). The remains of Robredo will lie in state in Malacañang on Friday (August 24) until Sunday morning (August 26). President Aquino signed Proclamation No. 460, declaring National Days of Mourning starting August 21 to mark the death of the former DILG Chief until his interment. The national flag will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset in all government buildings in the Philippines and in the country’s posts abroad for a period of six days. (Photo by: Jay Morales/ Malacañang Photo Bureau).

Hurricane Iris of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season interacted with Hurricane Humberto, before interacting and absorbing Tropical Storm Karen during September 3.  In 2005, the remnant low of Tropical Depression Thirteen moved northward and then northeastward around a non-tropical low located to the north of the system. It briefly strengthened into Tropical Storm Lee. Thereafter, Lee weakened back to a tropical depression as it moved northeastward and northwestward around the eastern side of the non-tropical low and eventually absorbed the non-tropical low. In the same year, Alpha was absorbed by Wilma.

In 1974, Hurricanes Kirsten and Ione interacted in a Fujiwara interaction, as Ione was pulled north east, while Kirsten was pulled to the north west.  In the same year, Francesca and Gretchen interacted with each other, until they merged on July 19.

In 2001, Gil absorbed Henriette but associated convection totally dissipated during the merger and did not return afterwards. In 2005, Lidia was absorbed by Max. In 2014, Karina initially moved west, but was steered back east by an interaction with Lowell, where it was absorbed by Marie. In 2017, Hilary interacted with Irwin, Hilary stopped Irwin’s westward movement, and caused Irwin to turn north.


Northwest Pacific

In September 1994, Typhoon Pat and Tropical Storm Ruth completed a full orbit around their centroid before collapsing into a single cyclone. In August 1997, Tropical Storm Yule merged with Tropical Depression 16W.

In October 2009, Typhoon Parma interacted with Typhoon Melor, affecting the movement of Parma. Parma was moving through the South China Sea but made a recurvature move to southeastward, so it made its second and third landfall over northern Luzon. In addition, due to the interaction with Melor, Parma weakened into a tropical storm by October 4.



In November 2009, Typhoon Nida absorbed Tropical Depression 27W (Urduja) and become a powerful typhoon. In August 2010, a Fujiwara interaction occurred between Tropical Storm Namtheun and Severe Tropical Storm Lionrock. Namtheun turned southwestward while Lionrock turned eastward. Later, Namtheun weakened into a tropical depression in the Taiwan Strait and was absorbed by Lionrock.

In August 2012, a Fujiwhara interaction occurred between Typhoon Tembin and Bolaven. Tembin was moving west, while Bolaven caused Tembin to turn east, resulting in a counter-clockwise loop of Tembin which caused torrential rain in Southern Taiwan.

In August 2013, Severe Tropical Storm Pewa absorbed Tropical Storm Unala. In August 2016, a Fujiwhara interaction occurred between Typhoon Mindulle and Lionrock. Lionrock was moving west-southwest, while Mindulle caused Lionrock to turn east, resulting in an erratic motion of Lionrock to the south of Japan.

In July 2017, Typhoon Noru absorbed Tropical Storm Kulap. Later in the same month, a Fujiwhara interaction occurred between Typhoon Nesat and Tropical Storm Haitang, Nesat caused Haitang to turn northeastward, eventually the remnants of Nesat was absorbed by Haitang over Fujian.


Southwest Indian Ocean

In 2008, Tropical Cyclone Fame began orbiting Tropical Cyclone Gula with the stronger storm, Gula, absorbing Fame. In 2012, Cyclone Giovanna and Tropical Storm Hilwa interacted in a Fujiwara interaction, as Giovanna was pulled to the north, while Hilwa was pulled to the south.

South Pacific Ocean

During January 1998, Cyclones Susan and Ron interacted with each other, before Susan absorbed Ron during January 9.


The Author

James Riordan

James Riordan

Rare is it that any author will have one of his books described as the definitive work on a particular subject, but such a distinction has been bestowed by critics on no less than four books written by James Riordan. The New York Times Bestseller Break on Through, Riordan’s biography of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, has not only been called “the most objective, thorough and professional Morrison biography” by the Times Book Review but also named as one of the Ten All Time Best Rock Biographies by Amazon.com. Riordan’s The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco) was called “One of the best how-to books ever written” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “The ultimate career book on the music industry” by Recording, Engineer & Producer. Critics described Riordan’s The Bishop of Rwanda as “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.” and The Coming of the Walrus, Riordan’s novel about the 60s as “the definitive book on the era” and “a hilarious tale of a harrowing search for the greatest truth of all”. With the release of A Well Thought Out Scream and Madman in the Gate, Riordan pushed the boundaries again with poetry/song lyric books that contain hundreds of stunning, beautiful and poignant images from artists and photographers from all over the world. In the summer of 2013 a new edition of The Coming of the Walrus was released to rave reviews followed by The Kill Switch. The author of thirty-three books, James Riordan’s career began in the music industry where as a songwriter, manager, producer and concert promoter he worked with several well known artists. In 1976 he began writing a newspaper column, Rock-Pop, which he later syndicated. Riordan soon became one of America’s premier rock journalists with articles reaching millions of readers including those of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Circus, Musician, and newspapers like The Chicago Daily News and The Kansas City Star. His reputation for relating on a one-to-one level soon led to interviews with George Harri-son, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and countless others. His first book, The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco in 1980) became the largest selling book ever written about the music business. The guide to “succeeding in the music business without selling your soul” was praised by Variety ,The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune, Billboard, Record World and many more. The Platinum Rainbow became an industry-wide phenomenon and interviews with James Riordan were aired on over 1200 radio stations and numerous television talk shows. Next Riordan collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller on a mini-series for network television (The Irish) and a movie of the week for CBS (Bless Me Father). In June 1991, William Morrow & Co. published Break On Through to outstanding sales and reviews. Riordan worked as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film of Morrison’s life, The Doors, which led to his writing Stone’s biography. Published by Hyperion /Disney in December 1995, Entertainment Weekly called STONE “an unflinching biography... enough spectacle to fill a month of daytime-TV talk shows.” The New York Post said reading the book was like “the sensory overload of watching all of Oliver Stone’s movies back to back.” Riordan was interviewed by Inside Edition, People Magazine, The Tom Snyder Show, and many others. From 1997-2000, Riordan created and co-starred in a local television program, Kankakee Valley Prime Time, which won six Crystal Communicators, three Tellys, and earned Riordan a Chicago/ Midwest Emmy Nomination for Writing the program. In the summer of 1999, James Riordan wrote, directed and starred in Maddance, an hour long dramatic project which won Crystal Communicators for Drama, Writing, Acting and Directing. On April 9, 2000, James’ 16 year old son, Jeremiah, was killed as a passenger in an accident that involved three drunk drivers. Shortly after this, James founded Make it Stick which works to warn teens of the dangers of substance abuse and publishes a magazine distributed to high school students. In 2001, he founded Jeremiah’s – A Place to be Yourself to give teens a place to hang out away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Force to close by its incredible growth rate, Jeremiah’s was recognized as one of the fastest growing and most successful teen centers in the United States. In 2004, Toastmasters International named Riordan Communicator of the Year for Central Illinois, the YMCA gave him their Service to Youth Award and the United Way named him the Outstanding Volunteer of Kankakee County. Returning to writing, Riordan went to Africa to write The Bishop of Rwanda, (with an intro by Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren). In November of 2006, Harper Collins released a new edition of Break On Through followed by The Coming of the Walrus (Image Workshop) in December and The Bishop of Rwanda (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) to rave reviews (“Powerful …plumbs the depths of God’s forgiveness and finds no bottom – Publisher’s Weekly). In 2011, he won the Pledge For Life Harold Award for his work with area youth. In the summer of 2012, Lee and Shane Stanley (Gridiron Gang) optioned Maddance as a feature film followed by Apothecary Films optioning The Kill Switch in 2013 and Omni Films optioning Final Service to film in May. Riordan joined the staff of the Mancow Syndicated Television and Radio show in January of 2014 and is now seen and heard across America on a weekly basis. His biography is included in Who’s Who in Entertainment , Who’s Who in Poetry and Contemporary Authors of America. James Riordan – Works Books The Kill Switch, novel with Andrew Dahlmaine, Stonegate Ink, 2013 The Coming of the Walrus, Trade Paperback Editn, Image Workshop 2012 Springboard To Heaven ( Jojo Sayson Adventure), Image Workshop, 2012 The Elijah Collection, novel collection with Bill Myers, Zondervan, 2011 The Well Thought Out Scream (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 Madman in the Gate (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 The Deadly Loyalty Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Ancient Forces Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Enemy Strikes with Bill Myers (Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 Deception with Bill Myers (Book 2 Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 The Bishop of Rwanda (Finding Forgiveness) Thomas Nelson, March 2007 Paperback Edition May, 2012 The Coming of the Walrus (What Really Happened in the '60s) IW, 2006 Break on Through (The Life & Death of Jim Morrison), Morrow, 1991. (New York Times Bestseller, Published in 5 languages, Hardcover, 5 Paperback Editions, Harper Trade Paperback November, 2006) Stone (The Controversies, Excesses & Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker), Disney/Hyperion,1995. (Published in 3 languages, Hardcover, Paperback Edition). Making It in the New Music Business, Writers Digest Books, 1987, (Second Edition, Revised and Updated 1991, Two Hardcover Editions) The Platinum Rainbow (How to Succeed in the Music Business Without Selling Your Soul) 250,000 copies with Bob Monaco, Swordsman Press, 1980, Twenty-Three Editions, Revised 1988) 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 2005 Capture the Wind (Microphones) w.Tom Lubin, Literary Mouse Press,1989 Private Biography of Russ Kalvin, founder of Kalvin Corp., 1990 Private Biography of Steve Stefano, founder of Joico Hair Products, 1993. Mystery of the Invisible Knight (Book 2 in the BloodHounds Series) with Bill Myers, Bethany House,1997. Matters of the Heart (The Life & Times of Edgar Cullman), Culbro, 1997. The Curse (Book 7 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1997. The Undead (Book 8 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1996. The Scream (Book 9 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1998 The Ancients (Book 10 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1999. The Cards (Book 11 Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale,2000 Films Final Service, co-written with Gary Moore and based on his book, Omni Productions, to be filmed in May, 2014. Maddance, Writer/Director/Lead Actor, Search Engine Films, Simmcomm, 1999. (Winner of 4 Crystal Communicators including Best Drama, Screenplay, Director, Male Actor – Austin, TX.1999) Performance (The Life of Ingrid Bergman), Screenplay, Lancit Productions 1998. Returned to Author when film division closed)Rewritten2009 Shadowdancers, Story & Screenplay, Story with Bill Myers, 1997 Dr. Babylon, Story 1996. Air Guitar, Story & Screenplay, 1994 The Platinum Rainbow, Story & Screenplay, 1993 Television/Video Kankakee Valley Prime Time, Writer, Director, Producer, 1997-2000. (Nominated for Midwest/Chicago Emmy for Writing, 1998, 3 Telly Awards, 4 Crystal Communicators 1998-2000). Angels Among Us (The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train Disaster, Co- Producer, (Telly Award, 2000). River Valley Sports Authority, Producer, 1999-2003. I Hate The World (Hypnoises Music Video), Writer/Director/Producer, Crystal Communicator for Best Music Video Concept, 1998). The United Way (Video) Crystal Communicator for Best Video for a Charitable Organization, 1998.

If it isn't money and it isn't fame and it isn't sex... then what... God?

— James Riordan, 2000

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