Analysis of Flood Fatalities in the United States, 1959–2019




Han, Zhongyu
Sharif, Hatim O.

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Flooding is one of the main weather-related disasters that cause numerous fatalities every year across the globe. This study examines flood fatalities reported in the contiguous United States (US) from 1959 to 2019. The last two decades witnessed major flood events, changing the ranking of the top states compared to previous studies, with the exception of Texas, which had significantly higher flood-related fatalities than any other state. The rankings of counties within some states changed as well. The study aims to improve understanding of the situational conditions, demographics, and spatial and temporal characteristics associated with flood fatalities. The analysis reveals that flash flooding is associated with more fatalities than other flood types. In general, males are much more likely to be killed in floods than females. The analysis also suggests that people in the age groups of 10–19, 20–29, and 0–9 are the most vulnerable to flood hazard. Purposely driving or walking into floodwaters accounts for more than 86% of total flood fatalities. Thus, the vast majority of flood fatalities are preventable. The results will help identify the risk factors associated with different types of flooding and the vulnerability of the exposed communities.



natural hazards, extreme weather, hurricane, flood, flash flood, weather disasters


Water 13 (13): 1871 (2021)


Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management