Hurricane Preparedness

What Is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions also can be devastating. A tropical disturbance can grow to a more intense stage through an increase in sustained wind speeds.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.

Storm Surge

The greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge. Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level to heights impacting roads, homes and other critical infrastructure. In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides.


Morehead City is vulnerable to flood damage from hurricane rains and storm surge. Morehead City has been exposed to 87 hurricanes/tropical storms including 32 tropical depressions since 1851. Given the 24 hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge occurrences recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over a period of 20 years (1996 through 2016), hurricane-related flooding in Morehead City is likely in the future. A hurricane or tropical storm affects Morehead City on average once every 1.9 years.


Morehead City employs CodeRed, a reverse 911 call network, to notify residents of emergencies, including hurricane warnings. To receive these notifications you must register online. In the event of an emergency, check TV and radio sources for up-to-date information.

Additional Information

For more information and to learn more about what actions to take in the event of a hurricane watch or alert in your area, review the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Hurricane Preparedness information.