Why Doesn’t Oregon Get Hurricanes?

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“Why doesn’t the Oregon coast get hurricanes like the east coast?”
Alexis Waites
Hillside Elementary School

A hurricane needs three things to form: sea surface temperatures of 79 degrees or warmer, low vertical wind shear (change in winds speed/direction with height) and high humidity. Global circulation and sea surface temperatures are the reason that Oregon does not see hurricanes while the east coast does. Global circulation brings warm air/water from the tropics north in the Gulf Stream up the east coast; they tend to weaken the further north they move  into cooler water, but as seen in Super Storm Sandy they can still be quite potent given the right dynamics.

On the Pacific coast global circulation causes cold water/air from the Arctic to head south towards the tropics, so sea surface temperatures are far too cold for a hurricane to make it as far north as Oregon. Where hurricanes can form off the coast of Mexico, global circulation takes them further west towards Japan. So the reason we don’t see hurricanes is that global circulation tends to not only send hurricanes west rather than north, but as brings cold air from the north to our coast.