Why all the '06 storms have gone fishin'

This was supposed to be another brutal hurricane season. But so far, the United States has been spared, and forecasters say one big reason is a low-pressure system off the East Coast that has been a shield against which storms just bounce off.

Still, forecasters warned that there are two months left in the season, and September and October are typically among the busiest months.

Two main factors have contributed to the coastline calm: A high-pressure system in the Atlantic known as the Bermuda High last year was centered close to Bermuda, but now is positioned hundreds of miles to the east. That, in turn, has made room for a low-pressure system to develop in the Atlantic between the Carolinas and Bermuda.

"Instead of high pressure pushing hurricanes toward the United States there has been low pressure that repels hurricanes," said Lixion Avila, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center.

Unlike a high-pressure system's clockwise swirling, the low pressure circulates counterclockwise and is associated with winds that help push storms to the north and northeast. It has been in place since late August and played a role in keeping Hurricanes Florence, Gordon and Helene away from American shores.

Beyond that, though, Pennsylvania State University meteorologist Paul Knight said that the season has simply not been as frenzied as last year. And fewer Atlantic storms mean fewer chances one will actually strike the United States.