Fatal Tradeoff? Toward a Better Understanding of the Costs of Not Evacuating from a Hurricane in Affected Landfall Counties
Czajkowski, Jeffery; Kennedy, Emily
The researchers examined an economic behavior model of the evacuation decision. Hurricane fatalities decreased each decade until the 2000s, when deaths increased due to Hurricane Katrina. As more people move into coastal region, we need a new look at the cost of evacuation compared to the value of waiting. For mitigation and minimization of fatalities, the researchers examined the creation of an Ike dike that costs $40 million and questioned its value. The researchers modeled fatalities as related to the direct and indirect factors of storm characteristics, socioeconomic factors, forecasting technology, evacuation, and time. Most research is focused on coastal counties, but deaths often occur inland. For Floyd, of the 70 fatalities, only three were direct coastal fatalities. The researchers compared deaths from different storms, 93% with zero fatalities. They found a lowering of fatalities over time and high levels of evacuations. As evacuation levels rise, there were less fatalities. If there was no evacuation for Hurricane Andrew, the model predicted ten additional deaths. Early storms cause more fatalities, and fewer fatalities occur among people with higher median incomes. As forecast error is worsens, expected fatalities decrease because more people are warned and are better prepared. Although this research focused on the coastal region, an important extension would be to look at inland communities and compare with rainfall data.