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Survey: Covid-19 will influence how Floridians respond to a hurricane

Jaymi Butler

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The majority of Floridians said they’re less likely to go to a hurricane shelter due to Covid-19, according to an emergency preparedness survey from the School of Public Affairs at the University of South Florida.

The survey, conducted between July 30 and August 10, captured responses from 600 residents from across the state. Hurricane season ends November 30.

Other key findings include:

  • Following a voluntary evacuation order, nearly half of residents said Covid-19 wouldn’t impact their decision to evacuate, while 44 percent said they’d be less likely to do so. 
  • Nearly half of respondents said that Covid-19 hasn’t affected their household’s level of emergency preparedness. 
  • Almost 80 percent of Floridians said they feel they could manage their household for three days without assistance should a hurricane leave them without water and power. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said they had enough non-perishable food, water and medication to get them by for at least three days. 
  • Financially, the picture is more dire. Just over 35 percent of Floridians said they have less than $1,000 to cover unexpected emergency expenses, with 9 percent reporting having no money available. 
  • Only about half of Floridians have an evacuation plan or emergency kit, despite survey findings indicating an overwhelming majority of residents are very or somewhat concerned about wind and flooding from a hurricane. 
  • Floridians reported they have the highest level of trust in information they receive from local government, at 40 percent. Just 22 percent said they had the same level of trust in the state and national government.
  • More than half of Floridians said they’d prefer to get emergency alerts via text rather than from social media, television or radio.

As of Wednesday morning, two tropical systems are lingering in the Atlantic Ocean with the potential to strengthen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently predicted an “extremely” active hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean. The agency is predicting 19-25 named storms, seven to 11 of which could become hurricanes. 

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