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Areas most at risk for hurricanes

Updated on July 20, 2015
Hurricane Bob trails along the Eastern Seaboard in the United States (1991).
Hurricane Bob trails along the Eastern Seaboard in the United States (1991).

Areas most at risk for hurricanes

The Atlantic hurricane season, which is from June 1st through November, is the time for residents to keep their eyes on any developing tropical storms. Many hurricanes form near the coasts of western Africa, and they spiral toward the Caribbean Islands and the United States. Since the term ‘hurricane’ is used for areas in the Western Hemisphere, places there that are at risk for this particular storm generally include resorts and beaches that are popular for vacationing. Places like Florida, Barbados, and Nassau have experienced destructive tropical storms in the past century or so.

Caribbean Islands

Islands in the Caribbean include vacation hot spots like St. Lucia, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. The Caribbean have a dense population, with capital cities like Havana, San Juan, and Port Au Prince often in the brink of a hurricane. If a hurricane develops in the Atlantic Ocean and makes its way toward these islands, it is likely to do so in August, the peak season for tropical cyclones.

A beach in Puerto Rico.
A beach in Puerto Rico.

Gulf Coast Region

Especially for people living near the Gulf Coast that extends from Texas to the Florida Keys, they should look out for any hurricanes that may strike. A big-time hurricane may move right through the Gulf of Mexico and target areas that were already hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, notably New Orleans and southern Mississippi. There have been times when hurricanes made landfall at popular tourism spots in Florida. On occasion, the Walt Disney World resort had shut its business temporarily because of a hurricane. The likelihood for the Gulf Coast to be hit by a tropical storm is around August or September.

Two boys playing on a Mobile, Alabama beach as a flock of seagulls fly overhead.
Two boys playing on a Mobile, Alabama beach as a flock of seagulls fly overhead.

Atlantic Coast

So many hurricanes have plagued the Atlantic Ocean. Places like Florida, the coasts of the Carolinas, and the Virginia Beach area are usually targeted by these storms, mainly in late summer or early fall. Sometimes a hurricane retains its strength and tracks as far north as Massachusetts and even Canada’s Newfoundland.

Charleston, South Carolina has been struck by a hurricane several times.  Remember Hurricane Hugo from 1989?
Charleston, South Carolina has been struck by a hurricane several times. Remember Hurricane Hugo from 1989?

Hurricanes have a history of extremely destructive winds, very heavy rain, and sometimes tornadoes. People living in areas prone to hurricanes should always be on the lookout for them, since they can turn deadly if no action is taken. Watching out for weather forecasts, planning an evacuation route, and having emergency items are just a sample of what to do in case a hurricane arrives.


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