Which U.S. Counties Are Struck by Hurricanes Most Frequently?

By Sarah Parsons, Liz Saccoccia and Kaitlin Walker

Hurricane Florence has officially made landfall, and North Carolina’s residents are already feeling the effects. So far, hundreds of people have been rescued from rising waters and more than 500,000 are without power.

Here’s what the hurricane looked like on September 12th, according to satellite data, as well as the number of people that are in its path:

North Carolinians are no strangers to hurricanes, though. Data from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) tracks counties struck by hurricanes from 1900-2009. According to the data, a county experiences a “strike” if it suffers a direct hit, hurricane-force winds or tides that are at least 4 feet higher than normal. Three counties in North Carolina rank among those most heavily hit over the past 100 years.

Here are the counties along the U.S. coast struck most frequently from 1900-2009:

  1. Monroe County, FL (struck 32 times)
  2. Miami-Dade County, FL (struck 25 times)
  3. Plaquemines Parish, LA (struck 25 times)
  4. Dare County, NC (struck 23 times)
  5. Carteret County, NC (struck 22 times)
  6. Broward County, FL (struck 22 times)
  7. Hyde County, NC (struck 21 times)
  8. Galveston County, TX (struck 21 times)

According to NOAA, the coastal United States experiences an average of 6.3 hurricanes per year, with about 1.7 making landfall. See how the coastal counties near you have fared over the last 100 years by checking out NOAA’s U.S. Hurricane Strikes data, displayed in the map below.

And of course, many more counties and cities have felt the effects of hurricanes even if they weren’t officially “struck.” Hurricanes can create heavy winds, rainfall and dangerous flooding even in areas far outside the strike zone.

Track the progression of Hurricane Florence and any other hurricanes that may form through NOAA/NASA satellite data displayed on Resource Watch:

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