The weather picture looks to be almost perfect for the launch and flight of the Great Reno Balloon Race right through the weekend. A ridge of high pressure across the western coast will bring sunshine and warm temperatures (upper 80s on Friday and lower 90s on Saturday and Sunday), and the ridge will keep winds light, especially in the early morning hours. Sunday night into Monday, a trough of low pressure backs into the region, kicking up some winds, cooling us down (into the mid-70s by Tuesday) and bringing a chance of showers and/or thunderstorms.

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Here’s an interesting question: “With two tropical storms so close together in the Pacific last week, is it possible for one to catch up with the other and merge to create an even bigger storm?”

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That can happen to any type of tropical cyclone. They often start to rotate around each other in something that is called the Fujiwara effect. Named after Dr. Sakuhei Fujiwara, he noticed the effect whenever systems of at least tropical storm strength get within about 900 miles of each other. Look at it as something akin to two bodies orbiting each other in space. It can lead to the storms merging and becoming one of catastrophic strength, but more often the larger of the two will tend to become the focal point, with the smaller orbiting around it until it gets drained of its energy.

 

 

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