Ignoring a hurricane evacuation order is very risky and can be a fatal decision for a number of reasons. Hurricanes are a very serious storm that should never be taken lightly. If local officials are telling you to evacuate, it’s best to take their advice and get out of harms way, regardless of how big the hurricane is or what type of house you live in.
Hurricanes can travel great distances and have very irregular paths. As an example, in 1995, hurricane Roxanne had one of the most bizarre paths recorded in recent times. It’s very uncommon for a hurricane to move in a forward direction, the reverse course, only to move forward again. But that’s exactly what Roxanne did.
Although the National Hurricane Center sends out projected paths a hurricane may take, they nothing more than probabilities. With each hour that goes by, the probabilities change as do the possibilities of landfall locations and intensity. Just because someone isn’t in the 72-hour projected path doesn’t mean they are safe. Conditions will and frequently do change on day-by-day basis. The 48-hour projection may now have their location as a direct hit, and instead of a the hurricane being a category 2, it’s now a category 4.
This happens with every hurricane forecast. For example, hurricane Wilma intensified from a Tropical Storm to Category 5 Hurricane in just 24 hours with a wind speed increase from 70 mph to 155 mph.
If at the last minute you realize the storm has greatly intensified and you don’t want to ride it out anymore, getting out of town may be near impossible. To the left is a picture of the evacuation during hurricane Rita. There will be traffic jams and roads will be closed. Finding a place to stay will be impossible. You may find your family sleeping in the car on the side of the road someplace exposed to the weather, and without food or water for days. Even though the self-pay gas stations might be open for business, that’s not to say they will have gas.
Hurricanes often spawn tornadoes and create massive flooding. Extensive destruction can happen on a very localized scale despite the fact the hurricane is only a Category 2. There is no way to predict where these localized hazards will occur.
So it’s best to watch the news closely if a hurricane is approaching your area. Evacuating only to find out the hurricane missed you is far better than rolling the dice, sticking around, then wishing you hadn’t. Don’t gamble your family’s life.