The Atlantic

What Would Happen If a Hurricane Hit an Erupting Volcano?

A showdown of natural forces could have unanticipated consequences in the Caribbean.
Source: Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock / Juan Cevallos / Getty

In addition to the cars flipped, the roofs collapsed, and the streets flooded, this season’s unprecedented string of devastating hurricanes also hit a much grander target: a volcano. The Caribbean island of Montserrat, home to the active Soufrière Hills volcano, twice suffered blows: first an almost-direct hit by Category 5 Hurricane Irma, then a direct hit by Category 5 Hurricane Maria.

The volcano’s peak this year was, thankfully, more noisy than explosive. No volcano-related calamities were reported from the storm. But the collision of the two disaster-movie terrors reveals the possibility of an unnerving scenario: What happens when a superstorm lands on a

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