Weather systems move from a westerly to an easterly direction, but hurricanes move across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west. Why?
Hurricanes in the the North Atlantic Ocean develop in tropical regions north of the Equator where prevailing winds, surface and aloft, are easterly (blowing from the east to west). These winds are usually light and steer hurricanes slowly westward across the warm tropical ocean. As the storms eventually move northward and out of the tropics, they are influenced by stronger mid-latitude westerlies and generally accelerate northeast or east. One of the most important responsibilities of hurricane forecasters is to ascertain how weather systems across the mainland U.S. interact with and alter a hurricane’s movement.