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Reluctance to Issue Hurricane Evacuation Orders

"The question of how soon, and how forcibly to order an evacuation has become one of the most intractable public safety problems on the East and Gulf coasts. Most officials are unwilling to issue evacuation orders, which are costly to states and localities and to private citizens who must leave work, lose business, and seek accommodations elsewhere. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the average warning generates $63 million in evacuation and preparation costs. Others put the cost at $1 million per mile of coast. If the storm shifts and bypasses the evacuated area, many people will be furious at having borne the effort and expense of evacuation for nothing - and they will be far less willing to heed the next evacuation order." (Excerpt from the book, Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches, by Cornelia Dean, Columbia University Press, 1999, pp. 139-140)

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