Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Studies have shown that about 63% of deaths in the U.S. due to tropical cyclones between 1970- 1999 occurred inland. The main cause of death is due to freshwater flooding often associated with severe local storms spawned from the parent cyclone. In addition these storms can produce numerous and widely scattered tornadoes, as evidenced by Hurricane Ivan (2004) that produced 117 tornadoes across eight states. Inland communities remain at risk, despite a steady decline of deaths in coastal communities. Hurricane Katrina was a special case as it deviates from the decline of coastal deaths due to unique socio-economic vulnerability factors. This research mapped both the inland and coastal social vulnerability to hurricanes making landfall in the Atlantic Basin. Historical flood data and inland wind decay functions from tropical clones are used to identify hazard prone regions. Specific demographic factors were used on the county level to identify vulnerable communities and create a vulnerability index on a scale of 1-10. This builds on the existing Hurricane Disaster Risk Index by including the vulnerability of inland communities and their associated factors. The most vulnerable counties were located in Arkansas and the Carolinas. Counties in the southern Florida Peninsula were found to have high vulnerability due to its likelihood of flooding due to tropical cyclones. The least vulnerable region was in the D.C. area. This social vulnerability map may be used as a decision aid for emergency managers for resource allocation and emergency response.
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