Hurricane Hazards, Evacuations, and Sheltering: Evacuation Decision-Making in the Prevaccine Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the PRVI Region
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Although research relating to hurricane evacuation behavior and perceptions of risk has grown throughout the years, there is very little understanding of how these risks compound during a pandemic. Utilizing the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (PRVI) as a study region, this work examines risk perceptions and evacuation planning during the first hurricane season following the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic before vaccines were widely available. Analyses of how people view public shelters and whether evacuation choices will change in light of COVID-19 concerns were conducted, and results reflect major changes in anticipated evacuation behavior during the 2020 hurricane season. Key findings include that over one-half of the sample considered themselves vulnerable to COVID-19. When asked about their intended actions for the 2020 hurricane season, a significant number of individuals who would have previously evacuated to a shelter said that they would choose not to during the pandemic, reflecting that public shelter usage has the potential to decrease when the decision is coupled with COVID-19 threats. In addition, individuals were shown to have a negative perception of public shelter options. Approximately one-half of the respondents had little faith in shelters’ ability to protect them, and three-quarters of respondents found the risks of enduring a hurricane to be less than those posed by public shelters. These results will inform future hazard mitigation planning during a disease outbreak or pandemic.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Weather, Climate, and Society, v. 14, issue 2, p. 451-466
Scholar Commons Citation
Collins, Jennifer; Polen, Amy; Dunn, Elizabeth; Maas, Leslie; Ackerson, Erik; Valmond, Janis; Morales, Ernesto; and Colón-Burgos, Delián, "Hurricane Hazards, Evacuations, and Sheltering: Evacuation Decision-Making in the Prevaccine Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the PRVI Region" (2022). School of Geosciences Faculty and Staff Publications. 2353.