How Hurricanes Form on the East Coast


Hurricanes form both in the Atlantic basin (to the east of the continental U.S.) and in the Northeast Pacific basin (to the west of the U.S.). However, the ones in the Atlantic basin tend to strike the U.S. mainland more frequently. Here’s why:

Track and Latitude: Hurricanes in the northern hemisphere form at tropical and subtropical latitudes and tend to move toward the west-northwest. In the Atlantic, this motion often brings them into the vicinity of the East Coast. In the Northeast Pacific, the same track carries hurricanes farther offshore, away from the U.S. West Coast.

Water Temperatures: Along the East Coast, the Gulf Stream provides warm waters (above 80°F or 26.5°C), which help maintain hurricanes. In contrast, ocean-surface temperatures along the U.S. West Coast rarely rise above the lower 70s°F (low 20s°C), insufficient to sustain hurricane strength. 

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-normal 2024 Atlantic hurricane season.
    How Hurricanes Get Their Names:

    An international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) selects names for each year. These names rotate every six years.

    When a developing cyclone becomes a tropical storm (with sustained winds of at least 39 mph), it receives a name. At 74 mph, it becomes a hurricane.

    The 2024 Atlantic hurricane names include Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Francine, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Milton, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tara, Valerie, and William. 

      Names help meteorologists and the public track storms effectively.

      *Article contributed by Microsoft Bing Copilot 

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