Discover where Americans are at risk for hurricane winds

The United States faces significant risks from hurricanes, particularly in terms of wind damage. Hurricanes, known for their devastating wind speeds, pose a serious threat to life and property. Understanding which areas are most at risk helps in preparing and mitigating the impacts of these powerful storms.

High-Risk Regions

  1. Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coasts: Jurisdictions along these coasts are at high risk, especially where the basic wind speed exceeds 115 mph for Risk Category II buildings. This includes a vast stretch of coastline, impacting numerous states from Texas to Maine​​.
  2. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, and American Samoa: These regions, due to their geographic location, are also classified under high hurricane wind risk areas. They are frequently in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes emanating from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans​​.
  3. Mid-Atlantic States: A notable trend is the northward tracking of hurricanes, leading to increased wind speeds and risks in the Mid-Atlantic region. This shift places states like Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey in a zone of heightened risk​​.
  4. Florida: Standing out as a major hotspot, Florida accounts for over 70% of the nation’s hurricane risk. Its geographical location makes it particularly vulnerable to hurricanes coming from both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico​​.

Other Vulnerable Areas

  • Pacific Coast: Parts of the Southwest and the Pacific Coast of the United States, although less frequently hit, are still vulnerable to hurricanes and their associated winds​​.
  • Appalachian Mountain Region: Slow-moving storms can pose a greater risk of wind damage in this region. The unique topography of the Appalachian Mountains can exacerbate the impact of hurricanes, leading to severe wind damage​​.

Hurricane Statistics and Impact

The Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, experiences an average hurricane season with 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. These figures are based on a 30-year climate period and underscore the regularity and severity of hurricane threats in these regions​​.


The United States faces varied and significant risks from hurricane winds across several regions. Coastal areas along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the Mid-Atlantic states, and parts of the Pacific Coast, as well as island territories like Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, are particularly vulnerable. Florida stands out for its high level of risk. Understanding these risks is crucial for effective disaster preparedness and response planning, underscoring the need for continuous monitoring and updates on hurricane patterns and their impacts.