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Tropical Storm Jose is expected to be absorbed by Hurricane Franklin

As the remnants of Idalia hit the North Carolina coast and Hurricane Franklin moved away into the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Jose formed early Thursday, becoming the last named storm of the winter season. 2023 hurricanes in the Atlantic.

  • At 5 a.m. Friday, Jose had maximum sustained winds of about 60 miles per hour and was about 750 miles east of Bermuda.

  • The storm is unlikely to intensify.

  • Forecasters expect it to be absorbed by Hurricane Franklin on Saturday.

It can! Here’s how it works.

Jose is weak compared to Franklin, which was the first major hurricane of the year in the Atlantic and stayed at that level for days. Franklin is starting to weaken and will soon transition to a more typical storm system with warm fronts and cold fronts, instead of a strong warm-core tropical cyclone.

On the weekend, after doing a little dance called the Fujiwhara effect, José will be absorbed by Franklin. Think of it less of a Pac-Man eating a ghost than a sponge soaking up water.

The Fujiwhara Effect occurs when two storms orbit around a common central point. This effect is named after Japanese meteorologist Sakuhei Fujiwhara, who first described the interaction between swirling masses of fluid or air in 1921.

The effect is much more common with cyclones in the Western Pacific, but it also occurs in the Atlantic. Sometimes, if the storms are evenly matched, they can spin around each other and then release, separating. Sometimes they merge and create a stronger storm.

But in this case, where there is a bigger storm and a weaker storm, Franklin will just be José’s demise.

This year we present an El Niño pattern, which arrived in June. The intermittent weather phenomenon can have far-reaching effects on weather patterns around the world and generally curbs the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.

In the Atlantic, El Niño increases wind shear, which is the change in wind speed and direction from the ocean or land surface to the atmosphere. Hurricanes need a calm environment to form, and the instability caused by increased wind shear makes these conditions less likely. (El Niño has the opposite effect in the Pacific, reducing wind shear.)

At the same time, rising sea surface temperatures this year pose a number of threats, including the ability to cause storms.

This unusual confluence of factors has made robust forecasts of storms more difficult.

“Things just don’t look good,” said Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, after NOAA released its updated forecast in August. “There are just a lot of weird things that we haven’t seen before.”

There is a strong consensus among scientists that hurricanes are becoming more powerful due to climate change. While there may not be more named storms overall, the likelihood of major hurricanes increases.

Climate change also affects the amount of rain that storms can produce. In a warming world, the air can hold more moisture, which means a named storm can hold and produce more precipitation, like Hurricane Harvey did in Texas in 2017, when some areas received over 40 inches of rain in less than 48 hours.

Eduardo Medina contributed reports.


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