Using data from Columbia University researchers and NOAA’s seasonal flood outlook, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released an analysis today that forecasts where flooding and coronavirus infections are poised to hit the United States the hardest between now and the end of May. The analysis could help federal, state and local governments, as well as households, prepare for what may be coming.
According to the analysis, the counties that could be hit by both high infection rates and significant flooding tend to be rural areas where health care access may be more limited. Counties in eastern South Dakota and eastern Iowa are at risk of major flooding and coronavirus infection rates that may exceed 25 percent of their population, while portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia face similar infection rates coupled with moderate flooding risk.
The analysis also identified the counties that could likely have the largest number of coronavirus cases and are facing moderate or major flooding risk. They are largely located in the South and Midwest and include the counties containing Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Cedar Rapids, Kansas City, Little Rock and Sioux Falls. For example, Atlanta and the surrounding metro area—which spans DeKalb and Fulton counties—could see more than 8,400 people infected at a time when their flood risk is significant. The list illustrates the magnitude of the threat from what may be simultaneous public health emergencies.
Members of the analytical team available for interviews include:
- Kristy Dahl, senior climate scientist at UCS. She is based in Oakland, California. Click here to view her bio.
- Juan Declet-Barreto, climate vulnerability social scientist at UCS. He is based in Washington D.C. Declet-Barreto can do interviews in both English and Spanish. Click here to view his bio.
- Erika Spanger-Siegfried, senior climate analyst at UCS. She is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Click here to view her bio.
For more information about how UCS is working to ensure governments implement a science-based response to fighting the coronavirus pandemic, click here.