What would you do if city authorities ordered you to evacuate ?
There are only two choices – comply or refuse, and neither is going to be much fun. For many it means loading up the car with their family, pets and anything else that fits, then joining heavy traffic to shuffle towards an uncertain future. While the upheaval is inconvenient at best, choosing to stay could be the biggest gamble of your life.
Some types of disasters allow for warnings and time to evacuate. Bushfires frequently reach the edges of the suburban sprawl, initiating rushed evacuations, sometimes with only minutes to spare. In the case of hurricanes, sophisticated weather analysis and satellite images can give those in danger up to 3 days warning.
In the case of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the city government of New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation of the entire city two days before disaster struck. While there were a large number of people who did not have the means to leave, others remained in the city by choice to face the fury of nature.
One factor in this seemingly crazy decision was the regularity of hurricane warnings over the years.
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