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The unique weather vulnerabilities of healthcare


Healthcare facilities keep patients and staff safe utilizing pinpoint forecasts and weather warnings.

Key Highlights

Manage staffing levels and prepare for patient influx

Minimize false alarms and unnecessary sheltering

Create a plan for moving staff and patients to a safe place

12 Minutes is Not Enough

This harrowing story of the Joplin, MO tornado in 2011 from an ER doctor recounts how they had just 12 minutes from the time they first heard a tornado had been spotted to when the EF-5 tornado impacted the hospital, causing widespread devastation. 

Twelve minutes is not enough time to safely relocate every patient, visitor, and staff member to shelter. It's not enough time to wrap up or safely pause surgeries. It's not enough time to relocate critical supplies to a safe location for use after disaster strikes. Just as in healthcare, in a weather crisis, minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Importance of Planning

We've previously discussed the importance of an all-hazards approach to hurricane planning, and the same applies to any hazard across any industry. Hospitals and healthcare facilities need to have an emergency plan that takes into account all potential hazards, both natural and man-made.

"We plan for if we lose power or we lose water; we plan for a lot of emergencies, but we never plan to just lose everything," John Farnen, Mercy's vice president of facilities said of the Joplin tornado.

AccuWeather For Business can help you prepare for all potential weather-related events, including a devastating tornado. Learn more →

SkyGuard® for Hospitals and Healthcare

Each healthcare facility has a unique operation with specific risks and needs, all of which require a customized plan of action. AccuWeather For Business will work with your emergency management team to identify those risks and implement a tailored service that reduces both the risk and liability of severe weather events.

Clients receive an early notice that a major weather event is possible for the upcoming 6-10 days. This “tap on the shoulder” gives organizations time to implement their emergency plan and ensure they’re fully prepared and able to safely handle whatever the atmosphere throws their way.

Once an event is underway, our meteorologists constantly monitor all client locations, with SkyGuard warnings providing enhanced safety to facilities through site-specific and threshold-specific warnings.

AccuWeather For Business tailored service for hospitals includes a two-tiered warning system. The early advisory allows hospitals to stage resources, start to move patients, and wrap up surgeries. Then, once a warning is issued, with 20-30 minutes of advance notice, final action can be taken to move everyone onsite to safety.

Reduce False Alarms

We understand the time required, as well as the risks associated with moving patients to shelter. Our proprietary "Null Tornado" notifications significantly reduce costly and unnecessary shutdowns or sheltering operations.

These notifications are sent when a public tornado warning is issued, but a tornado is not expected to impact a client’s location. Reducing the number of false alarms prevents warning fatigue, saves time and money, and ensures no reduction in patient care.

  • Determine the hazards to which each of your locations is most vulnerable during a severe weather threat and review past events to determine improvements that can be made
  • Perform a vulnerability assessment of all equipment, processes and operations
  • Talk with insurance providers to ensure your business has the necessary types of coverage
  • Coordinate preparedness activities with vendors, supply chain members and local partners
  • Create a company-wide playbook for tropical systems that address operational vulnerabilities

Partner with us to weather the storm

When weather challenges your team to make rapid decisions, depend on SkyGuard forecasts and warnings to provide you the information necessary to make the best decisions that protect your people and avoid costly shutdowns. Start a two-week trial today.