Just as hurricanes approach the Gulf Coast every year, the nation’s hurricane emergency managers arrive at the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans every year with the same question: “How do we get the public to understand why they need to follow evacuation orders issued by public officials?”
The four-day conference full of workshops, speakers and training sessions is under way this week at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.
Surveys indicate that residents in harm’s way too often pay attention to the wind speed of a storm, and don’t take into consideration the storm surge or amount of rainfall forecast. Hurricane Isaac, for example, was a weaker storm, but stalled along the coast last August, inflicting severe punishment.
In an attempt to help residents understand the risks, the National Hurricane Center hopes to implement a color-coded storm surge forecast map this summer. Also, the Weather Channel plans to include “aware zones” in its forecasts, directed at people in high-risk areas.
For more on the hurricane alerts and evacuations, read the Times-Picayune story.