An eye on
the hurricanes

Understanding the danger

North Carolina is one of the states most susceptible to hurricanes. With a coastline that juts out into the Atlantic, the state is like a catcher’s mitt, catching the storms as they move north.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers are helping our state prepare for the powerful storms by better understanding the challenges incurred by hurricanes — from storm surge and flooding to water quality and beach erosion.

  • Since 1851:
  • 83tropical storms have made landfall in North Carolina
  • 382tropical storms have impacted the state
  • 47hurricanes have made direct hits on North Carolina
  • 12major hurricanes have hit the state

We tend to be one of the higher hurricane impacts of any state in the country. The coast is very low and very flat, so if we do get hit by a storm, we’re very susceptible to flooding.

Rick Luettich, director of the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Rick Leuttich stands near the ocean.

The area where you actually have a mixture of freshwater and saltwater is expanded inward into all these rivers and creeks and streams. So, areas where people normally wouldn’t be exposed could become exposed to these dangerous vibrios bacteria.

Rachel Noble, director of the Institute for the Environment’s Morehead City Field Site

Rachel Noble

Click on a photo below to learn how Carolina researchers are studying the storms.

Helping our state recover

When hurricanes impact our communities, Tar Heels are ready to lend a helping hand.
  • Two students carry a piece of wood at a home construction site.

    Giving back to North Carolina

    Service-learning students spent their spring breaks providing community service throughout the state and the region.

  • A truck is loaded with donations.

    Filling Up The Truck

    Carolina athletics teams helped people affected by Hurricane Florence by utilizing the football team’s 18-wheel equipment truck to deliver donations to impacted communities.,

  • Students remove drywall from a house damaged by flooding.

    Helping our neighbors

    More than a dozen Carolina students spent their fall break helping in the recovery efforts in some North Carolina communities that were among the hardest hit by Hurricane Florence.