Hurricanes: The 10 U.S. Counties Most At Risk (as seen in USA Today)

To better inform Direct Relief’s extensive Hurricane Preparedness Program, the Research and Analytics team conducted research on areas most vulnerable to hurricanes, determining the ten U.S. counties most at-risk (shown in the map above).   The conclusions are based on historical storm data coupled with social vulnerability indexes to help drive decisions around which communities Direct Relief pre-positions massive amounts of critical medicines at the start of hurricane season, which officially began June 1. The research was featured in USA Today.

Read the article to learn more > Hurricane danger zone: The 10 places most at risk

The top 10 counties most vulnerable to hurricanes:

Desoto, Fla.

Houston, Texas

Polk, Texas

Issaquena, Miss.

Highlands, Fla.

Avoyelles, La.

Walker, Texas

WIlkinson, Miss.

Glades, Fla.

Kemper, Miss.

  1. Houston? Houston county is hours away from the city of Houston, which is in Harris county

  2. Thank you for checking out the map and our research on this issue. Based on the factors our team used to determine these conclusions, Houston County was found to be more vulnerable to hurricanes than Harris County by taking into account poverty, access to social services, and mobility issues in addition to frequency and intensity of hurricanes.

  3. The flooding in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, Florida April 29-30, demonstrated the vulnerabilities. Recovery from hurricane Ivan 9/2004 is still a work in progress for many. How did these counties rank in your study?

  4. One of HHII, Homeowners’ Hurricane Insurance Initiative, read your article and gave me a copy. I am a community consultant/ organizer guiding this church based group (spans AL, MS and LA) to bring down wind and flood premiums and we were very interested in your article. We have gotten the Clarity Law passed in AL and LA, which has revealed in AL that the coastal counties have subsidized the rest of the state over the last ten years. You can see our reports on our web site. We found that when Hurricane Ivan hit there were more claims in 12 counties than in Mobile county, which is on the coast.

    Would you please share w. us the criteria you used to establish which counties were the most vulnerable? Is there a more detailed report?

  5. Thank you for your questions, Michelle. The team looked at the relationship between the frequency and intensity of hurricanes relative to social vulnerability – with factors such as poverty, access to social services, an aging population and higher mobility problems – in establishing this research. We’ll update you if we can pass along any more information.

  6. After reading the article in USA today and looking at the Counties named in Texas as being the most vulnerable and most at risk and don’t understand why the three inland counties you picked would fall under the criteria for your study. Is there a more detailed study that you can share with us. The study could possibly be useful to us for future HS grant possibilities.

  7. Thanks for your comment, John.The original research was taken from the University of South Carolina Social Vulnerability Index in relation to frequency and intensity of storms. Our Research and Analysis Director who is most familiar with this project is currently in the Philippines, but can provide a more detailed explanation upon return. We’re happy to hear you found us and are eager to learn more.