By Kevin Dennehy March 26, 2015
Most residents living along the Connecticut coast underestimate the physical and economic threats posed by major coastal storms, sometimes despite advanced notice and exceptionally accurate weather forecasts, according to a new report by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC).
In a survey of more than 1,100 residents living within two miles of the Connecticut shore, only 21% said they would leave their homes in the event of a Category 2 hurricane — a major storm in which wind speeds exceed 96 miles per hour — if they did not receive any official notification. Just 6 in 10 (58%) said they would leave even if an official advised them to do so.
About one-third of residents believe it would be safer to stay at home than to evacuate in the event of such a strong hurricane. Seventy percent said they were unsure or unaware whether they were even located in an evacuation zone.
Researchers hope these insights into public knowledge, risk perceptions, experiences, and behaviors will help emergency planners and responders improve their communications with coastal communities during future weather emergencies.
Many of the respondents live in communities that were battered by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. During both events, many people stayed in their homes despite being warned of potentially dangerous weather conditions.