There are predictions for a busier than usual hurricane season this summer, but only in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Why are there no hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean near the West Coast?
Think of the way hurricanes approach the East and Gulf coasts: They form over warm water in the tropics and move west and north, sometimes, unfortunately, striking land in the Caribbean or North or Central America. That’s because the prevailing winds in the tropics generally blow from east to west.
It’s the same in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes form in the tropical latitudes there and, because the winds usually come from the east, they generally blow the hurricanes out to sea. (Farther west, past the international date line, hurricanes are called typhoons.)
Occasionally hurricanes turn back east to hit Mexico, but they lose much of their steam when they reach the cool waters off California.
For a story and graphic describing in more detail why hurricanes don’t threaten the West Coast, click here.
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