“Wrong Way” Lenny—
The Hurricane That Traveled East
May 26, 2015
"Wrong Way" Lenny, the record-breaking fifth Category 4 storm of the 1999 season, traveled eastward for its entire duration, a unique feat in the history of Atlantic tropical cyclones. And it caused considerable damage on the westward facing shores of the Leeward Islands in the process.
High pressure over the Atlantic generally makes hurricanes track westward, but they can-and often do-turn to the northeast if they meet a dip in the jet stream that is over, or emerging from, North America. Hurricane Lenny formed in the western Caribbean and encountered a particularly large dip in the jet stream that sent it on its unprecedented eastward track.