How often do hurricanes make landfall in North Carolina on average?

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(WGHP) — From an unnamed Category 3 hurricane in 1852 to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, hurricanes have caused billions in damage along the North Carolina coast and beyond.

But how likely are we to be hit by one every year?

The North Carolina Department of Natural Resources has been tracking tropical storm systems since 1851, and their data shows the likelihood a tropical storm will make landfall in NC every year.

The graph above shows the total number of tropical cyclones affecting North Carolina by decade
The graph above shows the total number of tropical cyclones affecting North Carolina by decade

A total of 84 tropical cyclones made landfall over the 169-year period from 1851 to 2020, which means NC averages one tropical cyclone making landfall every two years.

Of those 84 tropical storms, 52 of them were hurricanes, so NC averages one hurricane making landfall every 3.25 years.

The last hurricane to hit the NC coast was Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Keep in mind that just because the average is around one every three years, a hurricane is not guaranteed to make landfall in NC in 2022.

There are currently no hurricanes predicted to come ashore in NC during the 2021 hurricane season.

NC has been hit by 387 tropical cyclones since 1851. Only two of those reached a maximum of Category 5 speeds, but both weakened before making landfall: Isabel in 2003 and Dorian in 2019.

Number of hurricanes in each category to make landfall in North Carolina
Number of hurricanes in each category to make landfall in North Carolina

Hurricane Hazel is the deadliest hurricane to make landfall in NC. Nineteen North Carolinians were among the 95 total who died in the United States.

The official Atlantic Hurricane Season started on May 22 and is set to end on Nov. 30 but can possibly end later.

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