To evacuate, or not to evacuate

To evacuate, or not to evacuate October 12, 2016

Coastal areas in Florida and other Southeastern states evacuated their populations to escape Hurricane Matthew.  But when it hit, it sort of fizzled out.  While the hurricane took over 500 lives (maybe as many as a thousand), particularly in Haiti, it didn’t do that much to the United States.  So now lots of people who were evacuated are angry about having to leave.

Aren’t we supposed to err on the side of caution?  Aren’t we supposed to prepare for the worst and then be glad if it doesn’t happen?  Or was there something about this evacuation that made it especially annoying?  (I’d like to hear from any of you who were affected.)

UPDATE:  The hurricane’s force has abated but now comes the flooding.  North Carolina is especially affected, with more people evacuated as floodwaters are ravaging some counties.  So far 34 Americans have died from the Hurricane, half of them in North Carolina.

From Curt Anderson, After Matthew, some second-guess their decision to evacuate | Tampa Bay Times:

MIAMI — Maureen Miller was among the 2 million people ordered to evacuate coastal areas in the Southeast ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Her family and their dog spent two nights in a hotel and struggled through police roadblocks to return.

When they finally got back, their Brunswick, Georgia-area home was unscathed. Now they wish they had never left.

“I will never evacuate again,” Miller said. “If we stayed, we’d be fine. I’m sure there are a lot of people who feel the same way.”

Weather experts and government officials worry that people who quickly packed up and left but whose homes sustained little or no damage might be reluctant to evacuate next time, leading to deadly consequences.

“We are a culture that seems to get angry if the worst-case scenario doesn’t happen and we prepare for it,” said Marshall Shepherd, director of the University of Georgia Atmospheric Sciences Program. “I am continually baffled at the people that seem to anger that there is not more loss of life and destruction. That is the point of evacuating.”

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