North Carolina
Top Climate Change Risks: Storm, Heat, Drought, Coastal Flood

Learn how climate change is affecting people in North Carolina.
Then, check your local risk for heat, storm, fire, drought, and flood through 2050.

Typical Risks for Someone in North Carolina

Compared to people in the United States, people in North Carolina will experience especially increased risks from storm, heat, drought, and coastal flood due to climate change over the next 30 years.

The ClimateCheck Risk Rating is a 1-100 score that measures historical risk and increased exposure to risk with climate change, compared to everywhere in the U.S. (lower 48 states). A rating of 100 means risk is the highest for the U.S., while 1 means the risk is the lowest of anywhere in the U.S. Even with a risk rating of 1, climate change has both localized and large-scale effects that impact everyone on Earth.
See how we measure risk.

For fire, the bar estimates the middle 50% of buildings and middle 50% of land area. For heat, drought, and storm, the bars represent the middle 50% of the population.

Climate Risks for Cities in North Carolina

Of the top cities in North Carolina, the city with the highest overall risk is Charlotte. The city with the lowest overall risk is Greenville.

For heat, Concord has the lowest risk and Asheville has the highest risk.

For storm, Wilmington has the lowest risk and Raleigh has the highest risk.

For drought, Wilmington has the lowest risk and Concord has the highest risk.

For fire, Charlotte has the lowest risk and Greenville has the highest risk.

For flood, Raleigh has the lowest risk and Wilmington has the highest risk.

Comparing North Carolina and Other States

Among the lower 48 states, North Carolina's highest ranking is #17 for drought risk.
Arizona and Wyoming rank highest for drought risk Mississippi and Illinois rank lowest for drought risk

North Carolina ranks #18 for fire risk.
Highest fire risk: Utah and Kansas
Lowest fire risk: District Of Columbia and Rhode Island
See our fire ranking methodology.

North Carolina ranks #19 for heat risk.
Highest heat risk: Florida and Louisiana
Lowest heat risk: Washington and North Dakota


North Carolina ranks #18 for storm risk.
Highest storm risk: New Hampshire and Vermont
Lowest storm risk: Nevada and New Mexico

Storm Risk in North Carolina with Climate Change

To measure storm risk, we look at the amount of precipitation that falls in storms, and how many times this happens per year. A storm is based on the top 2% of rainiest days per year for a location. Our risk rating is based on the amount of precipitation historically and the relative increase compared to the rest of the United States.

Historically, Raleigh experienced an average of 1.8 inches of rain about 10 times per year. In 2050, it is projected to experience an average of 2.3 inches of rain about 24 times per year.

Historically, Wilmington experienced an average of 3.0 inches of rain about 9 times per year. In 2050, it is projected to experience an average of 3.3 inches of rain about 20 times per year.

Heat Risk in North Carolina with Climate Change

An extremely hot day in North Carolina depends on your location: 96ºF is extremely hot for Concord, while 89ºF is considered extremely hot for Asheville. This is based on historical maximum temperatures on the top 2% of days in an average year.

The frequency of very hot days is increasing. On average, someone in North Carolina will experience about 41 extremely hot days in 2050.
A typical person in the U.S. will experience about 43 extremely hot days in 2050.

Drought Risk in North Carolina with Climate Change

Drought risk is based on water stress, which is a projection of how much of the water supply will be taken up by human demand.

In the figure, the blue bars represent the available water every 10 years from 2020-2060, and the orange bars represent demand. The drought risk rating is based on the ratio of supply to demand and the projected change in this ratio. Lower supply and higher demand correspond to a higher score.

Coastal Flood Risk in North Carolina with Climate Change

Coastal flood hazards include storm surge, when strong winds push water to shore, and rising sea levels due to climate change. The rate of sea level rise varies along the coast. Rising seas contribute to greater instances and spread of high-tide flooding, when high tides inundate land, and greater potential storm surge depths.

How Can We Adapt to a Changing Climate?



Mitigating climate change—by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment—and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks


Check your address and get a free report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Your level of risk depends on your city's capacity to adapt. Look up information on your city's characteristics and how they relate to preparedness for climate change: ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assessment.

Protect Homes and Communities


Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA's Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool Pavements can also help urban heat islands. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives (federal to local), how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance


Change is necessary–and possible–across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with Project Drawdown's introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your home's carbon footprint with the CoolClimate Calculator. Or, estimate the carbon footprint of your business.