Abstract

This study investigates evacuation behaviors associated with Hurricane Matthew in October of 2016. It assesses factors influencing evacuation decisions and evacuation departure times for Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina from an online survey of respondents. Approximately 62% of the Florida sample, 77% of the Georgia sample, and 67% of the South Carolina sample evacuated. Logistic regression analysis of the departures in the overall time period identified variability in evacuation timing, primarily dependent on prior experience, receipt of an evacuation order, and talking with others about the evacuation order. However, using four logistic regressions to analyze differences in departure times by day shows that the only significant variable across the three main days of evacuation was our proxy variable for evacuation-order times. Depending on the day, other variables of interest include number of household vehicles, previous hurricane experience, and receipt of an evacuation order. Descriptive results show that many variables are considered in the decision to evacuate, but results from subsequent analyses, and respondents’ comments about their experiences, highlight that evacuation orders are the primary triggering variable for when residents left.

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