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Areas in the U.S. Most at Risk and Most Prepared for Hurricanes

We’ve identified the states most at risk of hurricanes as well as those that are most and least prepared. See our timely tips on how you can prepare your home.

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As hurricane season arrives, we thought it appropriate to look at the states most at risk, as well as those most and least prepared. The first list required gathering some data. The second required both data and analysis. 

Here are our lists of most at risk and most prepared. Plus, don’t miss our tips for preparing your home for the coming hurricane season.

areas in us most at risk and most prepared for hurricanes

States at Risk of Hurricane Damage 

NOAA has published a listing of hurricane direct hits by state from 1851 to 2020. That list provides a reasonable prediction of where we can expect the next hurricanes. We’ve ranked them by total hurricanes and included the number of major hurricanes.

Hurricane Direct Hits by State 1851-2020

Ranking State Total Hurricanes Major Hurricanes
1Florida12037
2Texas6519
3North Carolina587
4Louisiana5818
5South Carolina305
6Alabama255
7Georgia223
8Mississippi198
9Virginia120
10Massachusetts121
11Connecticut112
12Rhode Island103
13New Jersey40
14Maine30
15Maryland20
16Delaware20
17Pennsylvania10
18New Hampshire10

North Carolina ranks third with 58 direct hurricane hits and seven major hurricanes.

Hurricane Preparedness by State

Our analysis starts with the 18 states from the high-risk list above. We then examine two elements that demonstrate preparedness for disasters including hurricanes. 

The response ranking is based on the number of National Guard members by state. Since this is often the first group deployed in a natural disaster, it’s a solid indication of the state’s ability to respond to disasters. 

The emergency budget ranking is the total amount of a state’s budget that is allocated to emergencies and disasters. This is a reasonable indicator of the resources available.

Both are then compared state-by-state on a per capita basis to develop the two ranking lists. The overall score is the sum of both rankings.

Hurricane Preparedness by State

Preparedness Ranking State Response Ranking Emergency Budget Ranking Overall Score
1Delaware325
2Louisiana516
3Rhode Island268
4Alabama459
5Mississippi189
6Connecticut10313
7South Carolina7714
8New Hampshire8917
9Georgia111021
10Florida18422
11Maine61723
12Massachusetts121224
13Virginia151126
14Pennsylvania91827
15Maryland141428
16North Carolina131528
17New Jersey161329
18Texas171633

North Carolina ranked 16th overall, with response at 13th and budget at 15th.

Hurricane Preparation Tips

Wind, rain, flooding, and power loss are the four primary risks of a hurricane.

  • Wind. The most vulnerable parts of your home are the windows and doors. A broken window not only allows rain into your home but more damaging is the wind. That wind places a great deal of pressure on the walls and can raise the roof. Use hurricane shutters or place plywood over your windows. Install a wind-load garage door to greatly improve this part of your home.
  • Rain. Heavy rain can enter your home via a damaged roof or by pooling around your basement or crawl space. Keep your roof repaired by replacing missing shingles and damaged vents. Keep your gutters and downspouts clear so they can route water off the roof and away from the foundation.
  • Flooding. The best preparation for flooding around your home is to waterproof your basement. That should include repairing any cracks, adding a drainage system, and installing a sump pump with a backup battery that can take over during power outages. 
  • Power loss. Hurricanes can bring down power poles, shutting down electrical power. Restoring power could take days of work clearing up damage and installing power lines. A small generator can help a great deal in these situations. It can power your appliances, keep food refrigerated, and charge your cell phone to help with communication. 

We Can Help

We experience all the elements of our changeable weather from our offices in Charlotte, NC, as well as throughout the surrounding area. We can identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need to be addressed before a hurricane or tropical storm arrives. 

For a free inspection, contact the professionals at Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists.

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