Skip to Main Content

Areas in the U.S. Most at Risk and Most Prepared for Hurricanes

We’ve identified the states most at risk of hurricanes as well as those that are most and least prepared. See our timely tips on how you can prepare your home.

Hurricane season is headed our way. To fully evaluate hurricane risk along with hurricane preparation, we’ve sorted through a great deal of data. 

Then we’ve pulled together a list of the states that are at most risk of hurricanes. This is followed by an analysis of those states that are most prepared, including Georgia.

We’ve also provided a few tips for preparing your home for the coming hurricane season.

States at Risk of Hurricane Damage 

NOAA has published a listing of hurricane direct hits by state from 1851 to 2020. That list provides a pretty good idea of where we can expect the next hurricanes. In the list below, we’ve ranked them by total hurricanes and included major hurricanes.

Hurricane Direct Hits by State 1851-2020

Ranking State Total Hurricanes Major Hurricanes
3North Carolina587
5South Carolina305
12Rhode Island103
13New Jersey40
18New Hampshire10

Georgia ranks seventh with 22 direct hits and three major hurricanes. 

That ranking focuses on hurricane direct hits. A hurricane can also cause considerable damage from heavy rains, flooding, and tornadoes without ever coming ashore. 

For more insight, see our article Worst U.S. Cities for Hurricane Damage, where Savannah is rated fourth in cities most frequently hit by hurricanes, with 5.3 per decade.

Risk of Storm Surge Damage

A storm surge is caused by the high winds and low pressure directly in front of the hurricane’s path. That builds a large mass of water pushing it onto the land forming a storm surge. 

One cubic yard of sea water weighs almost a full ton. That amount of water can cause a staggering amount of damage. This happens both in front of the storm and when the hurricane leaves as the water flows back to the ocean.

CoreLogic’s 2020 Storm Surge Report identified residences at risk. They found 7,110,779 single-family and 252,657 multi-family homes at risk from a Category 5 hurricane.

They further broke down their analysis into the top metro areas at risk. Miami, New York, Tampa, and New Orleans are at the top of the list. Savannah ranked 13th in multi-family homes at risk of storm surge damage with 2,546 homes valued at $820 million in reconstruction value.

Hurricane Preparedness by State

The analysis here takes the 18 states from the high-risk list above and evaluates two elements that demonstrate preparedness for hurricanes. 

The response ranking is based on the number of National Guard members, usually the first group deployed in a natural disaster. The emergency budget ranking is based on the amount of a state’s budget allocated to emergencies and disasters. Both are then rated on a per-capita basis. The overall score comes from adding the two rankings.

Hurricane Preparedness by State

Preparedness Ranking State Response Ranking Emergency Budget Ranking Overall Score
3Rhode Island268
7South Carolina7714
8New Hampshire8917
16North Carolina131528
17New Jersey161329

Georgia ranked ninth overall, with response at 11th and budget ranked at 10th.

Hurricane Preparation Tips

Wind, rain, flooding, and power loss are the four primary risks of a hurricane.

  • Wind. Windows and doors are at great risk of damage in hurricane winds. When a window or door is broken, not only does rain enter your home but the wind places incredible pressure on your walls and roof. Use storm shutters or nail plywood over the window frame to fully cover your windows. A wind-load garage door can provide a great deal of protection to this highly vulnerable doorway.
  • Rain. Any damage to your roof, from missing shingles to roof vents, can bring water into your attic and the rest of your home. Gutters and downspouts should also be clear so that water doesn’t spill over the top and directly on your home’s foundation. Once the water pools around your foundation, it can find its way into your basement or crawl space.
  • Flooding. The best preparation for your home is to waterproof your basement. That needs to include repairing cracks, adding a drainage system, and installing a sump pump with a backup battery that can take over during power outages. All this can greatly reduce any damage from flooding.
  • Power Loss. It could take days after a hurricane has passed for the power to be restored. A small gasoline generator can power your appliances, keep your food refrigerated, and charge your cell phone to help with communication. Without a generator, you can keep food frozen for up to two days by keeping the doors closed.

We Can Help

We experience all the elements of Georgia weather from our offices throughout greater Atlanta and North Georgia. We’ve helped quite a few people prepare their homes for severe weather including hurricanes.

We can help identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need to be addressed before a hurricane or tropical storm arrives. For a free inspection, contact the professionals at AquaGuard Foundation Solutions.

AquaGuard Service Map


Atlanta Office

875 Pickens Industrial Dr
Marietta, GA 30062