Florida area affected by hurricane mapped with colored H symbols designating hospital days loss of use
Hurricane Irma—Hospital Damage map. Link to larger, screen reader accessible PDF.

Hurricane Irma strengthened and is expected to strike South Florida and the Keys on Sunday, September 10. Working with local, state and federal emergency managers, the science advisors and disaster response experts at the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) express grave concern about its potential devastation. The University of Hawaiʻi applied research center, is working around the clock with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida emergency management professionals to help analyze impacts and make sure the most vulnerable populations are protected.

Although the eye of Irma has shifted west of Miami-Dade, PDC’s Senior Science Advisor and former senior physical scientist at FEMA, Doug Bausch, says Irma remains “one of the most potentially destructive hurricanes observed through modeled data” in his 20-year career.

Describing the many ways the PDC is being leveraged by FEMA and Florida emergency managers to help make life-saving decisions, Joseph Green, epidemiologist and health risk specialist said, “Our DisasterAWARE technology and team of experts provide critical information to disaster managers to help them execute plans to protect not just everyday residents and business, but the most vulnerable people in society such as those residing in the care of hospitals.” He said Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has so far evacuated 17 hospitals and 196 non-hospital healthcare facilities in coordination with the Florida Department of Health. Similarly, DisasterAWARE is helping emergency managers anticipate the needs of other vulnerable populations including people with disabilities and those in underserved communities.

said, “We have activated a 24-hour support team to help deal with the requests for data and information from our partners and the public as the country braces for impact. We are also closely monitoring Hurricanes Jose (Category 4) and Katia (Category 3),” said PDC Director of Disaster Services Erin Hughey. “Now, more than ever, agencies are depending on the capabilities of the PDC and its DisasterAWARE technology.”

For more, go to the Pacific Disaster Center website.