(Storm Tracker)
Mon Jul 02 2007 10:34 AM
Re: Finally Satisfied / Photo of Florida from the Space Shuttle

Evacuations are called by local EOC officials. Watches and warnings are issued by the NHC. They tell local officials what's happening -- the locals take it from there.

Some places, like the Keys, MUST be evacuated several days in advance. I was in Key West when Andrew was coming, and had to evacuate. They must evac in stages.

Other places, like barrier island chains (Sarasota, Charlotte, Pinellas, Lee, Collier counties) MUST evacuate earlier to get everyone off the islands in time.

Municipalities/Red Cross can't open large shelters for mass evacs in a matter of hours -- they have to plan and have things ready. Highways might have to be contra-flowed. Supplies must be staged (state/national guard level operations).

Charley was predicted to hit Tampa -- it hit us here in Charlotte. HOWEVER, had they NOT ordered evacs in Pinellas/Hillsborough and it HAD hit up there, there would be public officials with their heads on pikes for public display.

EOCs must weigh how to protect the greatest number of people the most efficient way. To evacuate persons with special needs (PSNs takes time -- they have to fly large cargo planes into the Keys to evac hospitals and PSNs, for example), to prepare staff, etc.

And remember, there are places like Charlotte County where there really ARE no shelters because of our elevation. Many of our residents must go to Sarasota or south to Lee/Collier or east to DeSoto.

A lot of planning and drills have to happen for any of this to occur. And of course, when they order evacs (like Charley) and it doesn't hit, they still get blamed for not being right, even though they did all the right things.

Problem is, there are too many people who will 1) rely on the government to tell them what to do and take care of them instead of staying informed and making their own decisions and preparing to be self-sufficient, and 2) refuse to listen to what the government says regardless of what they say. Both of these kinds of people are dangerous for various reasons -- they are the kind who blame officials for "making" them evacuate when they didn't have to, or who call 911 when the storm surge is at 10 feet and they're in their attic because they didn't evac when they should have.

Note: This is NOT an official page. It is run by weather hobbyists and should not be used as a replacement for official sources. 
CFHC's main servers are currently located at in Orlando, FL.
Image Server Network thanks to Mike Potts and Amazon Web Services. If you have static file hosting space that allows dns aliasing contact us to help out! Some Maps Provided by:
Great thanks to all who donated and everyone who uses the site as well. Site designed for 800x600+ resolution
When in doubt, take the word of the National Hurricane Center