Why not evacuate?

I have never been in a hurricane, and I hope I never am.  I’m praying for all those who are currently in the path of Hurricane Irene.

However, here’s the thing I don’t understand: people who refuse to evacuate.  Worse than that, people who have been through these storms before and refuse to evacuate.  From an Associated Press story today:

“In Nags Head, police officer Edward Mann cruised the streets in search of cars in driveways – a telltale sign they planned to stay behind.  He warned those that authorities wouldn’t be able to help holdouts in hurricane-force winds, and that electricity and water could be out for days.  Some tell Mann they’re staying because they feel safe or because the storm won’t be as bad as predicted.  Mann, 25, said some have told him they’ve ridden out more storms than years he’s been alive.  Bucky Domanski, 71, was among those who told Mann he wasn’t leaving.  The officer handed the retired salesman a piece of paper warning of the perils of staying behind.  Domanski said he understood.  ‘I could be wrong, but everything meteorologists have predicted never pans out,’ Domanski said.  ‘I don’t know, maybe I’ve been lulled to sleep.  But my gut tells me it’s not going to be as bad as predicted.  I hope I’m right.'”

I realize I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to weather-related events, having been through a few myself.  However, I fail to see any wisdom in taking a chance with a storm of this nature.  And these will be the people we will see on the news as others risk their lives to try to rescue them.  It makes no sense to me.

I heard similar stories from people in La Crosse after the May 22 tornado struck.  I heard things like “The meteorologists always make it sound so bad, then nothing ever happens.”  Or, “We’ve never had a tornado here before, so I just figured we never would.”

I bet the people of Joplin wish they would have been given three or four days notice to evacuate.

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