Case #1652.0

Safe But Annoyed: The Hurricane Floyd Evacuation in Florida

Publication Date: April 8, 2002
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This case tells the story of the largest evacuation in U.S. history--the evacuation of 2.5 million people in the state of Florida, where officials sought to protect them from a storm that ultimately did not strike the state. The significance of the case, however, lies in its description of the difference in magnitude between the level of evacuation officials believed they had ordered and the far larger evacuation that actually occurred. The flight of nearly twice as many people as officials had asked to leave led to massive traffic jams in which--had the hurricane's path changed only slightly--thousands of people would have been stuck, at the mercy of potentially deadly high winds. The case raises the question of how officials could have explained the situation in such a way that the near-panic which ensued would not have taken place, as well as raising questions as to how, or whether, an orderly mass evacuation from population centers in the face of a terror threat or attack could, as a practical matter, be organized. 

Other Details

Case Author:
Howard Husock
Faculty Lead:
Arnold Howitt
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
United States Department of Transportation