Flooding, at the coast and inland, does the most damage in a tropical system. There are no building codes to fight the water, and the safest thing is to buy flood insurance.
Regular home owners insurance doesn't cover it and the cost can be high.
Be sure to watch WNCN's special report on Hurricane season Saturday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m.
Wind damage, which is second to flooding in tropical systems, is something home owners can try to fight.
Julie Rochman, president of the Institute for Business and Home Safety, said, "We always recommend people first take a look at their roof. Second, you want to take a look at all the potential openings on your house, so that would be windows, doors, garage doors, skylights and gable end of your roof. You can cover those or you can make them impact resistant."
The institute ranked the 18 states along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico susceptible to hurricanes for their building codes and North Carolina came in seventh place with an overall average percent of 81 out of a possible 100.
Florida and Virginia ranked the highest, with Mississippi the lowest.
"The good news in North Carolina is you have had wind-related provisions in your own codes for many years, so for example people in coastal communities have had to have straps tie their roofs to the walls and the walls to each other and the walls to the foundation," Rochman said.
Inland, those requirements are not mandatory. The best thing a homeowner can do is take a look at your roof.
"We want to make sure you've got a rated roof cover and roof cover that is meant to be used in areas where you are going to see wind speeds of 110 mph or more," Rochman said. "Roof cover and the decking below it need to be held together and anchored by something we call ring shank nails, not smooth nails."
Rochman estimates that to re-nail your roof would only cost a couple of hundred dollars. Also, using impact-resistant windows and garage doors can help you keep your house safer in a storm.
But there is only so much a homeowner can do.
"Once the storm is severe enough, the winds are strong enough, it is going to overwhelm even the best engineering," Rochman said. "But for the lower wind speeds, 130 miles per hour and below, there are certainly things we can do to prepare and should do well in advance of storm season."
Meteorologist Bill Reh delivers your weekday forecast on WNCN Today starting at 5.! He has been forecasting weather in central North Carolina since 1983 and understands local weather like few others.More>>