Background. A particularly vulnerable sub-population is the medically fragile. The medically fragile (MF) are defined as those who have at least one chronic condition and are electrically and pharmaceutically dependent, including the need for oxygen, and require care within 48 hours. Estimates of MF populations at risk from environmental hazards are important for emergency management planning and mitigation.
Materials and Methods. The MF population is comprised of 8% of the total population under 75 years plus all those 75+ years. Zonal estimates of MF populations are obtained by clipping block level US Census populations with SLOSH basin data (SLOSH Display Model v1.65) for the US Atlantic and Gulf Coasts by 5 hurricane categories using ArcGIS 10.1. Spatial interpolation and centroid capture are used to estimate new zonal populations encompassed by the storm surge zone edge. Resulting MF populations are aggregated by state and hurricane category.
Results. US Atlantic and Gulf Coasts populations exposed to storm surges totaled 27.8M (2010). MF populations exposed to tropical storm surge ranged from 2+M (category 1) to 4M (category 4/5). Florida and New York states the largest MF populations exposed to storm surge.
Discussion. The use of high resolution spatial population data and a well-established deterministic model of storm surge inundation provides a range of tabular and graphical products that allows the emergency management planner to visualize and target exposed MF populations for assessment and response at a variety of scales.
Wilson, James L. and Neuffer, Eileen
"Estimating Medically Fragile Population Exposures to Tropical Storm Surges,"
International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research: Vol. 2
, Article 1.
Available at: http://dc.uwm.edu/ijger/vol2/iss1/1