Faculty Publications

Hurricane Risk Perceptions and Evacuation Decision-Making in the Postvaccine Era of COVID-19 in U.S. Coastal States Impacted by North Atlantic Hurricanes

Document Type



Communications/decision-making, COVID-19, Emergency preparedness, Hurricanes/typhoons, North America, Social science

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Weather, Climate, and Society





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During peak disease transmission in 2021, the compounding threat posed by the pandemic and hurricane season required coastal states to understand evacuation behaviors during a major hurricane to inform the planning process. While research relating to hurricane evacuation behavior and perceptions of risk has increased since the start of the pan-demic, there is minimal understanding of how perceptions have changed now the COVID-19 vaccine is available. A total of 1075 individuals across seven U.S. coastal states participated in a study on evacuation intentions postvaccine availability. Findings revealed that most survey participants (50.9%) preferred to stay home if a major hurricane threatened their area, and only 3.9% would evacuate to a public shelter. Approximately half (56.2%) of individuals viewed the risk of being in a shelter as more dangerous than enduring hurricane hazards. When considering shelter use, nearly half of respondents (49.4%) stated they would evacuate to a shelter before the pandemic; now, only one-third (34.3%) would consider evacuat-ing to a shelter during the pandemic. Statistically significant findings include the relationship between those who lived in evacuation zones A or B (25.5%) and the choice to shelter in place at home (40.5%) or evacuate to a hotel (36.9%). There was a statistically significant relationship between the level of education and choosing to evacuate to a hotel. Additionally, the influence of pet ownership on evacuation decision-making was found to be statistically significant. Officials can use the results of this study to strengthen community preparedness and planning strategies across diverse populations.


Department of Geography

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