How Evacuation Decisions Are Made

The decision to evacuate is made by local officials in coordination with other jurisdictions in the region. This normally involves conference calls with local and state officials as well as the National Weather Service. An evacuation decision may be made as a result of these calls. Computerized tracking and analysis models are also helpful in deciding if or when to evacuate. Key factors in evacuation decision making include:

  • Providing enough time for people in storm surge zones and mobile homes to leave before the arrival of 39 mph winds;
  • Selecting an appropriate evacuation time to allow citizens to get to safety during daylight hours; and Providing the news media with enough time to warn the greatest number of people.
  • People have several choices for their evacuation destination. They can go to a hotel or motel outside the storm surge zones, to the home of family or friends, or they can go to a public shelter. Evacuation and shelter openings usually happen simultaneously.