GREENSBORO, NC -- We're anxiously tracking Maria in the Caribbean this week. It's still too early to know the eventual path of the storm, but one of the possible options involves something that's called the "Fujiwhara Effect". Let's explain.
There are two hurricanes spinning in the Atlantic right now: Jose, and Maria. Jose will be moving northeast and skirting New England in the coming days. As it passes by Cape Cod, it's possible that the storm could curl southward again, starting a second loop.
This second looping motion of Jose, would have some big impacts. As Maria moves northward from the south, the two storms will get close enough to start interacting with one another, even from a great distance of 900 miles or so.
If the storms get this close, they will enter a somewhat spinning motion. As they rotate, Jose will weaken the ridge of high pressure in the Atlantic just enough to push Maria out to sea, and away from the United States.
It's too early to say whether or not this Fujiwhara Effect will in fact happen, but it is depicted in several computer models. If it doesn't, Maria could be a threat for the Southeast U.S. coast next week.