Our local officials did an excellent job of getting people to evacuate. The people in this area knew the risk of staying and also knew what it might be like after the storm (no electricty, no water, HEAT, no services). We had about a 90% evacuation rate and it was a good thing because we had significant damage from Rita and sweltering heat after the storm with no electricity. There were hardly any services in the city after the storm because damage was extensive. I think by most people being out of the city it made the job of getting things up and running again easier. People came back into the city gradually. Yes, there were problems (FEMA's slow response was one) but overall Jefferson County did a good job in responding to this disaster. Also, families were able to apply to FEMA for money to help cover evacuation expenses. Maybe if people knew that there would be help in covering those expenses they would be more willing to leave. As for changing the system of classifying these storms, the one in place is fine. It it the job of the local officials to make sure people get out of harm's way and to make sure people understand how important it is to leave.
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