no hurricaines hitting the western side of north/south america?

Do hurricaines not hit the pacific side of the new world?

Hurrican Ignacio hit La Paz, Mexico in August of 2003:

Hurricanes sometimes hit the west coast of Mexico, but I think that’s about it. There was a similar thread not too long ago in which somebody provided a decent explanation, but it seems to have eluded my searches.

There are a lot of places hurricanes don’t strike. They don’t hit the Atlantic coast of South America, either, although last year or the year before there was some kind of tropical storm that hit Brazil and was I believe the first such South Atlantic storm ever recorded.

Generally tropical depressions form in the eastern Atlantic and then, because of the rotation of the Earth, move westward and eventually northward. The rare Atlantic storm that makes it across the Central American isthmus won’t have much power once it reaches the Pacific.

Likewise, storms that form in the eastern Pacific move westward as well. Tropical storms in either ocean don’t normally move eastward, which is why they rarely hit a western coast .

Here’s a map that shows typical paths of tropical storm systems. You can see that, because of the orientation of the western coasts of the Americas, most storms will not hit it.

FWIW, the remnants of large Atlantic hurricanes sometimes get swept towards Europe along the Gulf Stream, and can on occassions still bring storm-force winds by the time they get there. Obviously, this doesn’t count as actually being hit by a hurricane, but it gives you an idea of how far-reaching the big storms can be.

In addition to what Colibri said, there are cold ocean currents off the west coast of North America, which is the main reason the west coast of the US doesn’t get hit with hurricanes very often, storms die before they get close. Occasionally (usually with fast moving or well-organized storms) they can make landfall with tropical storm intensity, but that’s about it. Southwestern Arizona has been hit with a tropical storm at least once in the past 6 years (though that storm went up the Gulf of California), and I’ve heard of southern California being hit by a weak tropical storm many years ago (no cite, but I can probably find one on request).

Same thing with the western coast of South America. Water is too cold anywhere near the coast (with an associated large area of stable, marine layer/lack of convection) to form any.

Trivia: Tropical Storm Vince in mid-October this year was the first time in recorded history that a tropical storm/hurricane made landfall in mainland Europe, when it hit Spain just south of the Portugal border.

And in some places like, oh, say Peru and Chile it doesn’t even rain at all. Seriously, Lima is a desert that happens to front the Pacific, and northern Chile is the same. You have to go to the mountains or jungle to see rain here, which is just fine considering I used to live in a country with two monsoon seasons.

Here`s a couple of hurricane stories from southern CA.

"In September 1939 a full-fledged hurricane struck southern California following two weeks of temperatures in the mid 100-teens. Winds from this hurricane topped 70 mph, and widespread rainfall of 7-15 inches caused extensive damage, and killed hundreds. The Capistrano Valley floor became one massive river. To the North, in Los Angeles, suburbs and the valleys came under water resulting in a massive effort to build flood control channels.

However, this storm failed to match the hurricane of 1861, which is said to have caused massive destruction and many deaths due to flooding. It is not known how much rain fell in the region during this hurricane, although rough estimates show as much as 20 inches of rainfall would have been possible in a 48-hour period. "