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[1] Recent Atlantic hurricane activity raises several questions. For example, why was the 2005 season so early and active and are there similarities with the past? We show that parallels exist between 2005 and previously active years. Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies beginning in winter aided the formation of early storms. On longer timescales SST, sea level pressure and zonal winds exhibit multidecadal variability; weaker easterlies during the positive phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) result (via ocean-atmosphere interactions) in warmer water and increased hurricane activity. However, individual active years appear independent of the AMO phase.