Fleeing the Storm(s): Evacuations during Florida's 2004 Hurricane Season
Stanley K. Smith, University of Florida
Chris McCarty, University of Florida
The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in Florida’s history, with four hurricanes causing at least 47 deaths and some $45 billion in damages. In order to collect information on the demographic impact of those hurricanes, we surveyed approximately 2,000 households at the state level and 12,000 households in the local areas sustaining the greatest damage. Using these data, we estimated that one-quarter of Florida’s population evacuated prior to at least one of the hurricanes; in several counties, more than half of the residents evacuated at least once. In this study, we summarize the results regarding the number of evacuees, types of lodging, and number of days spent away from home. Using logistic regression analysis, we analyze the factors affecting evacuation decisions. With the apparent increase in hurricane intensity (and perhaps frequency) caused by global warming, we believe the findings reported in this study will be very useful in preparing for the impact of future hurricanes.