Both sentences are correct, but their meanings are different.
In the first sentence, you're simply stating a fact. You're saying that destroying homes is what strong winds do. There's no reference to specific winds or specific homes in that sentence.
In your second sentence, however, you're referring to a specific event. A wind that you previously mentiond in the text or that is clear from the context (the strong wind) has destroyed the homes in North Carolina. In this sentence, you're not saying that this is what all strong winds do. You're simply referring to an event that has occurred.