As powerful as mankind is, there will always be one thing more powerful and outside of our control- the weather and mother nature. Heck, we can’t even accurately predict it. The sheer power of what mother nature is capable of is mindblowing from tsunamis to tornados to hurricanes. You’ve probably watched videos on the Weather Channel youtube or another platform showing these types of storms. And it can be fascinating. But one thing is for sure I don’t want to be in the path of mother nature when she’s at her peak. And I’m thankful to live in North Carolina where the threat of these types of weather-related events is smaller than many other areas of the country. But that doesn’t mean we don’t face natural disasters in North Carolina.

At least we don’t live in tornado alley. Natural disasters though can and will happen everywhere including North Carolina. Below you’ll find information about 5 of the most common natural disasters in our state. And the most common one, well it may not be exactly what you think. It’s more of a subset of the type of storm most commonly associated with North Carolina. Keep reading to see what they are. Want information on keeping yourself safe during weather-related storms? Get info at ReadyNC.gov.

  • Flooding

    Would you have guessed the most common natural disaster in North Carolina is flooding? Coastal areas as well as other low-lying levels are at the highest risk of flooding. And NC has well over 3,000 miles of coastline. This along with the frequency of another type of natural disaster on this list, hurricanes and tropical storms, means the state is at a high risk for flooding. But it’s not limited to just coastal areas, with the amount of rivers and streams in the state rainfall and storm surge can cause flooding around any body of water.

  • Tornados

    While not the most common, and certainly not as common as in the midwest, tornados are possible in North Carolina. When I lived in Raleigh a few years ago, a tornado touched down about a mile from where I was living at the time. Sitting in the basement listening to the live stream of the news named roads right by us was one of the most terrifying things I have ever experienced. And I sincerely hope that is the closest I ever have to come to living through a tornado. These violent, deadly storms can pop up almost out of nowhere typically during thunderstorms. The Asheville Citizen-Times has a list of tornados by year in NC, and we have seen as many as 50 in one year (2020). So far in 2023, we have seen 2 tornados.

     

  • Hurricanes

    Hurricanes are the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of natural disasters in North Carolina, even living 3-4 hours from the coast. If you’ve resided in the area for any time, you can probably name multiple storms that have hit the coast and even Charlotte throughout the years. While I was not alive at the time of Hurricane Hugo my parents told me about not having power for 2 weeks after the storm, in fact, my aunt and uncle’s wedding had to be rescheduled because of the hurricane. Hurricanes bring with them an array of dangers including flooding and storm surges as previously mentioned, dangerous winds, capable of destroying buildings, and the threat of tornados. And with 3,330+ miles of shoreline, there is always a chance a storm makes landfall in North Carolina, or slightly south in South Carolina still causing damage in our state.

  • Droughts/Heat Waves

    While I’m certainly no stranger to record heat waves I don’t often think of them as natural disasters. Though these events can be dangerous and even life-threatening. They also can pose issues with the food supply.

  • Wildfires

    Droughts and heat waves can also make the risks of wildfires more significant.  The drier brush and greenery the higher likelihood that it can catch fire and spread quickly. Luckily NOrth Carolina is not at as high of a risk of wildfires as states like California, which continuously deal with massive fires. But they do happen from time to time as we have seen in recent months.

     

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