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)