Hurricane How do Hurricanes Move?

When storms develop deep in the tropics, persistent summertime easterly winds generally cause storms to move westward along the southern edge of the Azores-Bermuda high pressure area (a relatively stable air mass centered over the Bermuda area).

This causes storms to follow a generally westward path across the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. An example is the path of Hurricane Georges in 1998 (Figure 7). However, if the Azores-Bermuda High is weak, with lower pressure than normal, and a trough of low pressure (usually represented by a cold front at the surface) extends southward, the storm may turn to the north or northeast following the leading edge of the trough. Depending on the exact location of the trough, the storm may follow a track up the east coast of the United States, or veer northeastward over the cooler Atlantic waters where it slowly diminishes. The storms have a tendency to curve slightly around strong surface high pressure areas. The average foreward speed of most hurricanes is 10 mph.

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