North Carolina’s coast is one of the nation’s regions most prone to being hit by a direct hurricane because its extended coastline. The Atlantic Hurricane Season lasts about six months (June 1 - November 30) and, if one strikes, can cause heavy winds, strong thunderstorms, flooding, and storm surges. All areas of North Carolina – from coastal and surrounding counties to the mountains – have been impacted by hurricanes within the
past 20 years.
Hurricane research has shown between 1883 and 1996, a tropical cyclone makes landfall along the coastline about once every four years. An estimated 17.5% percent of all North Atlantic tropical cyclones have affected North Carolina. From 1980 to 2017, the deadliest hurricane was Hurricane Floyd (also known as ‘The Flood of the Century’ and ‘The 500-Year Flood’) in 1999, which caused 35 fatalities and record–breaking flooding.
A 10-foot storm surge hit North Carolina’s coastline on September 16, 1999.
Rivers rose over 20 feet above flood stage leaving entire towns underwater.
Nearly every river basin in eastern North Carolina reached 500-year or greater flood levels.
The Tar River suffered the worst flooding, exceeding 500-year flood levels along its lower stretches; it crested 24 ft (7.3 m) above