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Top 20 Windiest Cities in North Carolina

North Carolina has its fair share of wind. After all, Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk wasn’t chosen for the Wright Brothers’ first flight because the weather was calm. That’s shown clearly in our ranking of the windiest cities.

Let’s start at the beginning and look at average wind speed followed by thunderstorm wind speeds.

The Impact of Wind on Foundation Damage

Wind itself doesn’t cause foundation damage directly, but its effects can lead to situations where foundation damage becomes more likely.

Strong winds can severely affect structures in several ways.

Soil Erosion

Wind can accelerate soil erosion around the foundation, especially in areas with loose, sandy, or non-cohesive soils. This erosion can undermine the foundation, leading to uneven settling and potentially causing cracks or structural weaknesses.

Water Pooling around the Foundation

Wind-driven rain can lead to excessive water pooling around the foundation. This moisture, if not properly drained, can cause soil expansion or contraction, which again can lead to uneven settling or movement of the foundation. In extreme cases, such as during hurricanes or tornadoes, wind can cause significant shifts in structures, indirectly impacting the foundation through movement or settling.

Tree Damage

Additionally, wind can damage nearby trees, causing them to fall and potentially impact the foundation either directly or by altering the landscape and drainage patterns around a building.

So, while wind itself may not directly harm a foundation, its secondary effects can pose serious risks to the structural integrity of the foundation.

Windiest Cities and Towns in North Carolina: Average Wind Speed

We’ve culled the average wind speed information at City-Data to find the top 20 cities in North Carolina for the highest average wind speed. We’ve chosen only those cities with populations of 6,000 or more.

1Kill Devil Hills10.7
2Elizabeth City10.5
3Morehead City9.5
6New Bern9.4
7Piney Green 8.7
8Half Moon  8.7
10Myrtle Grove 8.6
11Kings Grant  8.6
16Porters Neck8.6
18Oak Island8.6

Windiest Cities and Towns in North Carolina: Thunderstorm Winds

Average wind speed can tell us a bit about the local conditions, but it’s the thunderstorm winds that really show what can happen with high winds. We’ve reviewed NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information’s Storm Events Database. In the range of Nov. 1, 2019, to Nov. 30, 2020, they identified 92 places affected. Here are the top 20 ranked by recorded wind speed.

1Taylors Bridge, Sampson County 74
2Haw, Onslow County 70
3Rockton, Wake County 63
4Red Springs, Robeson County61
5White Oak, Bladen County61
6Hayesville, Clay County 60
7Mountain Park, Surry County 60
8Ocracoke, Hyde County    60
9Jonesville, Yadkin County60
10China Grove Airport, Rowan County60
11Mt. Pleasant Airport, Cabarrus County60
12Knotville, Wilkes County 60
13East Laurinburg, Scotland County 59
14Waves, Dare County58
15Southport, Brunswick County 56
16Fernside, New Hanover County56
17Wrightsboro, New Hanover County56
18Barkers Creek, Jackson County 55
19Saunook, Haywood County 55
20Etowah, Henderson County55

NOAA also identified the property damage incurred in the top-ranked Taylors Bridge storm on Jan. 13, 2020, at $250,000. Trees snapped and were uprooted, and the Union Intermediate School’s roof lifted. Plus, the school’s gymnasium outer wall partially collapsed.

Winds in Our Hometowns

We’ve gone deeper into the numbers for the locations in North Carolina where we have offices.

In Raleigh, storm winds reached 50 mph during a thunderstorm on April 13, 2020. Gusts up to 58 mph were reported as trees were uprooted and power lines came down. 

Wilmington caught a particularly strong storm on April 23, 2020, with gusts up to 61 mph. It’s no stranger to hurricane-force winds nearly every year: Hurricane Isaias in 2020, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Hurricane Florence in 2019, and more.

Winston-Salem caught 50-mph winds on July 23, 2020. Trees were downed and fell on several cars, making for a tough day for those drivers.

Impact on Your Home from Winds and Storms 

The National Weather Service provides a wind estimation scale designed to provide observers with a way to judge wind speed.

Strong winds can find weak spots in trees, power lines, and your home. Shingles can break off in the wind and even your gutters and downspouts can be torn down. Plus, all that flying debris can do further damage to your home’s roof, walls, doors, and windows. Any breach provides a way for rain to enter your home.

We’re hopeful that high winds won’t damage your home’s foundation. But rainwater driven by wind can find its way into your basement or crawl space if there are any cracks or if the water accumulates around your home.

We recommend that you consult the professionals at Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free inspection and repair estimate to identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need attention in preparation for storms, winds, and heavy rain.

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Our Locations

Fayetteville Location

3400 Walsh Pky, Suite 220
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Greensboro Location

611 Summit Ave, Suite 5
Greensboro, NC 27405

North Raleigh

208 Millbrook Rd. Suite C
Raleigh, NC 27609

Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill Location

3333 Air Park Road
Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

Wilmington Location

2155 Enterprise Dr. NE
Leland, NC 28451

Winston-salem / High Point Location

2910 Griffith Rd
Winston-Salem, NC 27103