As Storm Nears, Region Tops ‘Risk’ List

Even as a low-pressure system swirls through the Gulf of Mexico to the southwest Florida area, bringing with it the potential for heavy rains and flash floods, experts have ranked several Florida cities as among the most vulnerable and overdue city for a hurricane in the United States.

Tampa tops that list, put together by forecasters at the Weather Channel. It was followed closely by Naples and then Jacksonville, with Key West rolling in at the ninth most-vulnerable spot.

The list is based at least in part on scientific measures like potential for storm surges and population size.

Millions of people from north of the city to Sarasota might need to evacuate if a Category 5 hurricane approached, according the experts behind the ranking ? the Weather Channel’s senior meteorologist, Stu Ostro, and hurricane specialist Michael Lowry. They estimate it might take 68 hours to clear out residents at risk in the metropolitan area.

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