Storms classified as hurricanes generally originate in the tropical latitudes of the northern Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean east of the International Date Line. Tropical cyclones west of the International Date Line in the northern Pacific are called typhoons, and those that originate in the Indian Ocean or southern Pacific Ocean are simply called cyclones.Continue Reading
Hurricanes and other tropical cyclones tend to form in the tropical latitudes because these storms need access to warm, calm water to form. The warmth provided by these waters heats the air above the ocean's surface, causing it to rise. The rising air deposits clouds to the upper atmosphere and creates a low-pressure zone, and the air flowing into this depression triggers the rotation that creates a tropical cyclone.
Most hurricanes that form in the Atlantic Ocean track westward toward the Caribbean Sea, turning north at some point. They may work their way into the Gulf of Mexico and hit the southeastern Unites States, or they may travel up the eastern seaboard. In some cases, hurricanes can form in the Gulf of Mexico or western Caribbean Sea. Pacific hurricanes tend to form off the western coast of Mexico and travel either westward into the ocean or northwest up the coast toward California.Learn more about Storms