What would happen if a hurricane crossed over an erupting volcano, like for example Kilauea in Hawaii?
Kathy McGonigle, Evanston
It’s an interesting question, and the answer is absolutely nothing. There are two features of hurricanes that are significant in this regard: rain and wind.
Rain, whether it be associated with a hurricane or just from an ordinary shower or thunderstorm, occasionally falls onto erupting volcanoes. There is no effect. Either the rainwater evaporates from the heat being released by the volcano and therefore never actually touches the volcano or the raindrops simply hit the ground. Rain also helps to wash volcanic ash out of the air.
The high winds associated with a hurricane will carry ash and other material ejected by a volcano more rapidly downstream, but lighter (non-hurricane) winds do the same thing, just at a slower pace.