The National Weather Service in Wilmington, NC posted this picture on Twitter yesterday showing the two ocean currents that play a role in our weather. They are known as the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current.

The Gulf Stream is a warm ocean current that flows from the tip of Florida northward to cape Hatteras before moving eastward all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. It splits in two branches over the ocean: the North Atlantic Drift reaching Northern Europe and the Canary Current which flows toward Africa! The Labrador current is a cold ocean current that flows from the Arctic Ocean southward along the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. It hugs the coastline all the to Cape Hatteras.

The Labrador Current and Gulf Stream usually meet right around the Cape Hatteras area. The clash between the cold and warm waters creates very rough waters. Many boat/ship wrecks happen where the two currents meet. This is one reason that area is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.

The two currents can play a role in the weather patterns such as thick fog and large temperature differences which can enhance weather systems right off shore!

~ Meteorologist Candice Boling