Based on RM Mentock’s comment in this thread, I got to wondering about the physical conflicts inherent to a collision between a hurricane and an erupting volcano and how the result might differ whether this happened at sea or on land. If needed to for the purpose of a comparable discussion, let’s assume a St. Helen’s stratovolcano style pyroclastic explosion and a Category 5 Andrew style hurricane, although any interesting perceptions about other types would be welcome too.
As far as the eruption goes, I’m certain that nothing the hurricane can throw at it will slow it down in the least and the only impact will be in the ash distribution patterns, especially with airborne debris but also with lahars and pyroclastic flows. Instead of a relatively uniformly declining distribution of debris away from the crater, you’d probably have the strong winds distributing the ash column much more widely but the abundant moisture in the center of the hurricane turning that column into a rapidly falling heavy rain of liquid ash. I’m guessing this would change the overall ash distribution from a somewhat linear distribution to one mose logarithymically concentrated closer to the crater.
As far as the volcano’s effect on the crater, might the heat from the eruption actually help fuel the hurricane’s winds? I’d think it would increase the short term strength of the hurricane but rapidly deplete the volume of rain available since it would come in contact with the ash and quickly fall to Earth.
I just thought it was an interesting scenario, am curious if at anytime throughout Earth’s history if this actually has happened and frankly, am somewhat surprised that Hollywood hasn’t already dreamed this one up.