A Spatial Analysis of Life-Threatening Hazards Associated with Winter Weather Events in Georgia

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Monday, 3 February 2014: 4:45 PM
Room C213 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Aneela L. Qureshi, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA

Winter storms are a major problem in the United States, impacting most regions of the nation. While not as common as in other areas of the country (e.g., the Northeastern United States), winter weather affects the Southeastern United States annually, impacting regions as far south as Georgia. Winter storm events in the Southeastern United States are capable of producing large snow and ice totals, and even minor amounts of snow and ice can lead to significant societal impacts, including injuries and deaths. Georgia experiences up to six winter weather events per year on average, with the highest annual frequencies in the northeastern mountainous region of the state.

Injuries and deaths due to falls and traffic accidents have been shown to increase due to winter weather. While these life-threatening hazards associated with winter weather events have been studied in other regions of the country, to date there are no existing studies specific to Georgia. The aim of this presentation is to identify winter weather events in Georgia from 1990-2011 and analyze the most dangerous life-threatening hazards associated with these events. Data on traffic accidents, falls, hypothermia, and sledding accidents were collected from a variety of sources. These data were mapped by Georgia climate division using ArcMap 10. These maps were analyzed to determine the extent to which each hazard impacted each climate division, which climate divisions experienced the greatest amount of life-threatening impacts, and how each hazard compares across climate divisions. This presentation will highlight the results of this spatial analysis.