Fatalities Caused by Hydrometeorological Disasters in Texas
Paul, Srikanto H.
Sharif, Hatim O.
Crawford, Abigail M.
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Texas ranks first in the U.S in number of fatalities due to natural disasters. Based on data culled from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1959 to 2016, the number of hydrometeorological fatalities in Texas have increased over the 58-year study period, but the per capita fatalities have significantly decreased. Spatial review found that non-coastal flooding is the predominant hydrometeorological disaster in a majority of the Texas counties located in “Flash Flood Alley” and accounts for 43% of all hydrometeorological fatalities in the state. Flooding fatalities occur most frequently on “Transportation Routes” followed by heat fatalities in “Permanent Residences”. Seasonal and monthly stratification identifies Spring and Summer as the deadliest seasons, with the month of May registering the highest number of total fatalities dominated by flooding and tornado fatalities. Demographic trends of hydrometeorological disaster fatalities indicated that approximately twice as many male fatalities occurred from 1959-2016 than female fatalities, but with decreasing gender disparity over time. Adults are the highest fatality risk group overall, children are most at risk to die in flooding, and the elderly at greatest risk of heat-related death.