Who leaves and who stays? A review and statistical meta-analysis of hurricane evacuation studies

Read the full review here [Note: not free access – pay per view]

Official warnings, mobile home residence, risk area residence, observations of environmental (storm conditions), social behavioral cues by others, and expectation of significant personal impacts have consistently significant effects on household evacuation. Demographic variables have weaker effects on the decision to evacuate.

This statistical meta-analysis analyzed 38 studies with actual responses to hurricane warnings and 11 studies involving expected responses to hypothetical hurricane scenarios conducted since 1991. Local officials are an extremely important information sources, likely because of their perceived expertise, trustworthiness, and responsibility to protect the community. Effect sizes from actual hurricane evacuation studies are similar to those from studies involving hypothetical hurricane scenarios for 10 of the 17 variables examined. This suggests that studies carried out in a laboratory or on the Internet are also informative and can be used to examine people’s cognitive processing regarding different types of hurricane warning messages.

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