There is widespread concern about the recent increase in North Atlantic hurricane activity. Results here suggest that fledgling storms tracking east to west at low latitudes are more likely to reach hurricane intensity than those traveling on a more northerly trajectory. The annual occurrence of these straight-moving hurricanes (east to west at low latitudes) is statistically linked to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) using a Poisson regression. Because the occurrence of U.S. hurricanes south of about 35°N is positively correlated with the abundance of straight-moving hurricanes, an accurate prediction of ENSO together with observations of the NAO could be used to forecast seasonal hurricane probabilities along the southeast U.S. coast. It is stressed that in order to understand the range of mechanisms associated with hurricane activity, it is important to consider factors that influence tracks. In this regard, the NAO is a leading candidate.
Department of Geography, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida