Having been through four majors in my lifetime (and a few others) it really comes down to a few simple statements.
Pay attention to what your local emergency offiicials say. If they tell you to leave (as in mandatory evacuations) then leave.
You don't have to go 1000 miles away, just go where it is safe. Don't get stuck on an interstate somewhere in the middle of the hurricane trying to get to the "ideal" place. Once clear of storm surge danger areas, just look for a safe place, shelter, hotel, or a friends house.
Storm surge is a killer, don't stay where you are vulnerable. No structure will protect you if it is underwater.
If you're going to ride it out, do so in an interior room, no windows. If it gets really bad, pull a mattress from a bed and put it over your heads and hunker down on the floor. A lot of people survived Andrew using this simple tactic, even as their houses disintegrated around them.
We all hope that Ivan will wind down before landfall, but Frances did and still made one heck of a mess of the east coast of Florida.
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