Discover the North Carolina Town Most Likely to Be Hit by a Tornado

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: June 21, 2023
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Key Points

  • North Carolina has a relatively low risk for tornadoes, but this small town has a risk score on par with states like Missouri and Illinois.
  • The town is within what is called Carolina Alley, the name for Tornado Alley within the Carolinas.
  • The state has seen F3 and F4 tornadoes, but never an F5.

Not only is North Carolina one of the worst states in the country for hurricanes, but it also gets its fair share of tornadoes, especially in the central to eastern regions of the state. The Piedmont Trough features warm sandy soil that mixes with cooler air from the Atlantic Ocean, causing swirling storms of destruction. But what areas get the most tornadoes? And how common are they? Discover the North Carolina town most likely to be hit by a tornado and learn how wildlife can be impacted by these storms.

What is the North Carolina Town Most Likely to Be Hit by a Tornado?

La Grange, NC Map

La Grange is the North Carolina town most likely to be hit by a tornado.

©SevenMaps/Shutterstock.com

The North Carolina town most likely to be hit by a tornado is La Grange, with a tornado index score of 216.43. The risk of a tornado in La Grange is much higher than the national and North Carolina averages. While North Carolina has a relatively low risk for tornadoes, La Grange has a risk score on par with states like Missouri (214) and Illinois (220). 

Let’s compare the town to other high-risk areas. Oklahoma, for example, has the highest tornado index of any state in the country, with 363.83. And the town in Oklahoma with the highest chance of being hit is Valley Brook, which has an index score of 696.05. Missouri had the second-highest ranking (280). And the town most likely to get hit by a tornado in the state is Waldron, with a score of 401.

La GrangeNorth CarolinaUnited States
Tornado Index216.43115.21136.45

About La Grange, North Carolina

Located in Lenoir County in Central-Eastern North Carolina, La Grange is a small town with just under 3,000 residents. The town is in the Inner Banks region and features a total area of 2.3 square miles. Several places, such as homes and a Presbyterian church, are registered as historic places in the national registry. It is a suburban rural area with a very small-town feel.

How Bad Are the Tornadoes in La Grange, North Carolina?

Tornado

136 tornadoes have passed through or near La Grange since 1950.

©Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.com

La Grange has a very high risk of tornadoes, averaging at least two a year. Since 1950, there have been 136 tornadoes that have passed through the small town. While most have a force of one or less, the area has had several major tornadoes, reaching F3 and F4. And at least one person dies every year from tornadoes in La Grange.

One of the more recent tornadoes in the town was an F3 that blew threw the area in April 2011, injuring 30 people. The Carolina tornado outbreak of 1984 is the worst in La Grange’s history. Two tornadoes, an F3 and an F4, struck the area, injuring 153 people and killing 16.

Is North Carolina at High Risk for Tornadoes?

North Carolina as a whole has a moderate threat of tornadoes. The peak tornado season for the state runs from March through May. However, they have been known to occur at any time of year. The state is not as prone to tornadoes as the Midwest, but it still receives its fair share. In fact, the Carolinas have their own tornado alley.

Read about the North Carolina town most likely to experience an earthquake.

Where is Tornado Alley in the Carolinas?

Carolina Alley is in Eastern North Carolina near I-95, stretching through the state until it reaches Northeastern South Carolina. The peak season for this tornado alley is April, May, and again in September. And it is the fourth-most active area in the country. La Grange falls within Carolina Alley.

How Common Are Tornadoes in North Carolina?

Tornado warning sign against a powerful stormy background with copy space. Dirty and angled sign with cyclonic winds add to the drama.

There has never been an F5 tornado in North Carolina.

©Conceptual Art/Shutterstock.com

North Carolina has seen 1,387 tornadoes from 1950 to 2019. The state receives an average of 31 per year, including an average of three fatalities and nearly 40 injuries. North Carolina has never had an F5 tornado, but they have had up to an F4. 

Tornadoes happen all over the state. But they are larger, more powerful, and much more frequent in Eastern North Carolina.

Wildlife Around La Grange: How Do Tornadoes Impact Them?

North Carolina is a haven for wildlife. With its coasts, mountains, and Piedmont, there are abundant natural areas where animals and plants thrive. La Grange is in a rural setting, where you may see more animals. In North Carolina’s central-eastern region, you may see white-tailed deer, American black bears, bobcats, red wolves, coyotes, foxes, and numerous birds.

Not only can tornadoes kill plants and animals, but they can also destroy farms, disrupt the food chain, and contaminate water and soil. Large tornadoes can destroy forests, which also ruins natural wildlife habitats. And significant disruptions to the environment can cause invasive species to flourish.

Where is La Grange Located on a Map?

Located in Lenoir County in Central-Eastern North Carolina, La Grange is a small town with just under 3,000 residents. The town is in the Inner Banks region and features a total area of 2.3 square miles. This suburban-rural town’s tornado index is on par with Missouri and Illinois. It’s within what is called Carolina Alley, the tornado alley for the Carolinas.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rasica/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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