DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adg6633 ISSN:

Short-term excess mortality following tropical cyclones in the United States

Robbie M. Parks, Vasilis Kontis, G. Brooke Anderson, Jane W. Baldwin, Goodarz Danaei, Ralf Toumi, Francesca Dominici, Majid Ezzati, Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou
  • Multidisciplinary

Knowledge of excess deaths after tropical cyclones is critical to understanding their impacts, directly relevant to policies on preparedness and mitigation. We applied an ensemble of 16 Bayesian models to 40.7 million U.S. deaths and a comprehensive record of 179 tropical cyclones over 32 years (1988–2019) to estimate short-term all-cause excess deaths. The deadliest tropical cyclone was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, with 1491 [95% credible interval (CrI): 563, 3206] excess deaths (>99% posterior probability of excess deaths), including 719 [95% CrI: 685, 752] in Orleans Parish, LA (>99% probability). Where posterior probabilities of excess deaths were >95%, there were 3112 [95% CrI: 2451, 3699] total post–hurricane force excess deaths and 15,590 [95% CrI: 12,084, 18,835] post–gale to violent storm force deaths; 83.1% of post–hurricane force and 70.0% of post–gale to violent storm force excess deaths occurred more recently (2004–2019); and 6.2% were in least socially vulnerable counties.

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