More Hospitals at Risk of Flooding from Hurricanes

The risk of hospitals flood is increased by ongoing challenges with climate change.

By Mackenna Moralez
October 12, 2022

Nearly 50 percent of hospitals along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of flooding from a Category 2 hurricane, according to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Potentially, 147 hospitals with 41,493 beds are at risk from a category 1 storm, while 306 hospitals with 84,842 beds are at risk of flooding with a Category 4 storm.  

The risk of flooding increases for certain metro areas when accounting for forecasted rises in sea level. Areas that could be impacted by flooding due to a category 2 storm include: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Virginia Beach, Virginia: Corpus Christi, Texas; Philadelphia; and Boston. The rise in sea level expected this century as a result of climate change increases the odds of hospital flooding by 22 percent, according to the study.  

The top 10 metro areas where a Category 2 hurricane threatens access to hospital care are as follows: 

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach-  Florida (77.6 percent) 
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania (19.5 percent) 
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton-Massachusetts (15 percent) 
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford – Florida (33.3 percent) 
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – Florida (28.6 percent) 
  • Nort Port – Sarasota – Bradenton – Florida (85.7 percent) 
  • Jacksonville – Florida (42.9 percent) 
  • Cape Coral – Fort Myers – Florida (80 percent) 
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland (10 percent) 

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