When is hurricane season in North Carolina in 2023?

Hurricane season in North Carolina runs from June to November, though the Tar Heel State sees the most hurricanes in August, September, and October.

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Kara McGinleyKara McGinleySenior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance ExpertKara McGinley is a former senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she specialized in homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Forbes Advisor, Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.
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Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Certified Financial PlannerIan Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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North Carolina is the fourth worst state for hurricanes in the U.S. The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends on November 30, but the Tar Heel State is most at risk for hurricanes during the months of August, September, and October.

Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) — one of the industry’s watched hurricane forecasting teams — is predicting a 2023 Atlantic hurricane season that's 15% below the 30-year norm. [1] Even so, North Carolina homeowners should still make sure they have the proper home insurance coverage in place before the start of hurricane season.

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What month does North Carolina have the most hurricanes?

North Carolina is most at risk for hurricanes from August to October. Of the 301 hurricanes that have made landfall in the U.S. since 1851, 58 of them have been in North Carolina — ranging from Category 1 storms to major hurricanes. [2]  

The last major hurricane to affect the Tar Heel State was Hurricane Florence in September of 2018, which resulted in an estimated $22 billion in damage in North Carolina. Most of the devastating hurricanes to hit the state in recent history occurred in the months of September and October. [3]  

Here is Tropical Storm Risk's forecast for hurricane season in 2023: 

  • Around 13 named storms 

  • Around 6 of those could become hurricanes (wind speeds of 74 mph or higher)

  • Around 3 major hurricanes — Category 3, 4, or 5 (wind speeds of 111 mph or higher)

Where do hurricanes hit the most in North Carolina?

All areas of North Carolina were affected by hurricanes in the last 20 years. [4] The towns and cities on the Atlantic coastline of North Carolina are most at risk. That means places like the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras, and other coastal areas are at heightened risk for storm damage. 

Hurricane Florence, for example, caused devastating destruction in Wrightsville Beach in 2018. [5] Before that, in October of 2016, Hurricane Matthew resulted in especially severe flooding in Robeson, Edgecombe, Cumberland and Wayne counties. [6]  

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How to prepare for hurricane season in North Carolina

Because hurricanes are so common in the state, North Carolinians need to be properly prepared for hurricane season. Here are a few steps to take before, during, and after the storm to keep your home and family safe.

Before the storm

  • Purchase flood insurance

  • Make sure your homeowners insurance policy is updated with the right wind coverage

  • Create an emergency plan and kit

  • Know your evacuation routes

  • Secure your property

  • Follow weather reports every hour

  • Fuel up your vehicles

During the storm

  • Continue to follow weather reports

  • Close storm shutters

  • Turn off gas, water, and power if authorities tell you to do so

  • Turn off propane tanks

  • Leave your home if you’re instructed to do so by government officials

  • If you can’t leave your home, stay inside and away from windows and doors

  • Take shelter in a windowless room, bathroom, or hallway

After the storm

  • If you need shelter, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area

  • Stay updated on local alerts 

  • Stay away from loose or downed power lines

  • Don’t drive through flooded or washed-out roads

  • Make temporary, emergency repairs to your home if you can — and save receipts

  • Take pictures of the damage 

  • File a claim with your insurance company

Insurance considerations for hurricane season in North Carolina

If you live in North Carolina, you may have some coverage gaps in your homeowners insurance that you’ll need to fill by purchasing additional coverage. Here are some considerations to keep in mind for hurricane season in 2023. 

Know your hurricane deductible

In North Carolina and other Atlantic coastal states, insurers require you to pay a special hurricane deductible when filing a claim. Unlike standard home insurance deductibles — which are usually a flat dollar amount — hurricane deductibles are set at a percentage of your dwelling coverage limit — usually between 1% and 10%. These deductibles are typically only triggered when the National Weather Service declares a hurricane or named storm. 

Here’s an example of how hurricane deductibles work.

Say your home is insured for $300,000 and your deductible is set at 5%. That means after your deductible is paid, you’ll receive a claim payout of $285,000 ($300,000 in dwelling coverage minus your $15,000 deductible).

If you don’t qualify for homeowners insurance coverage, consider a FAIR Plan

The North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association (NCJUA) provides last-resort homeowners insurance coverage options for homeowners in North Carolina. If you can’t find coverage in the standard market place because your home is too at risk for flooding or coastal storm damage, contact the NCJUA to see if you qualify for their program. Our licensed agents at Policygenius can help you do this.

Purchase flood insurance

Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Because North Carolina is prone to hurricanes and flooding, you should strongly consider purchasing flood insurance. You can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) — a FEMA-backed organization — or through private flood insurance companies.

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Frequently asked questions

When does hurricane season start in North Carolina?

The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is June 1, but North Carolina sees the most hurricanes in August, September, and October.

What part of North Carolina gets hurricanes?

Every part of North Carolina was affected by hurricanes in the last 20 years. The areas on the North Carolina coastline are most at risk for hurricane and flood damage.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. Tropical Storm Risk

    . "

    Extended Range Forecast for North Atlantic Hurricane Activity in 2023

    ." Accessed December 22, 2022.

  2. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

    . "

    Hurricanes Frequently Asked Questions

    ." Accessed June 09, 2022.

  3. ABC11

    . "

    A list of the most destructive hurricanes in North Carolina history

    ." Accessed June 09, 2022.

  4. ReadyNC

    (North Carolina Emergency Management). "

    Hurricanes

    ." Accessed June 09, 2022.

  5. WCNC Charlotte

    . "

    Costliest and deadliest hurricanes for NC

    ." Accessed June 09, 2022.

  6. ReadyNC

    (North Carolina Emergency Management). "

    Hurricanes: History

    ." Accessed June 09, 2022.

Corrections

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Author

Kara McGinley is a former senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she specialized in homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Forbes Advisor, Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Expert reviewer

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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