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High gas prices could impact residents' decision to evacuate during hurricane, AAA survey says

27% of Floridians more concerned about this year's hurricane season
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Posted at 12:19 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 17:46:20-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — Hurricane season starts Wednesday, and high gas prices could affect whether or not Florida residents evacuate an approaching storm.

About 42% of respondents to a recent AAA survey said that high prices and the availability of gas would make them less willing to evacuate their homes if recommended to do so.

The survey found that about one in four Floridians would ignore hurricane evacuation warnings altogether.

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However, 60% said they would only leave if they were in the path of a category 3 storm or stronger.

"Prices at the pump are likely to remain high throughout the summer," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. "So, if you're worried about evacuation costs, it may be a good idea to start setting aside some money now."

Flooding in Pensacola from Hurricane Sally on Sept. 16, 2020
In this Sept. 16, 2020, file photo, floodwaters move on the street, in Pensacola, Fla. Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm, pushing a surge of ocean water onto the coast and dumping torrential rain.

RELATED: Palm Beach County leaders urge residents to prepare for hurricane season

The top reasons people cited for staying home: 

  • Can't bring pets/don't have a safe option for them (30%)
  • Don't know where to go (28%)
  • In case there's damage to my home/property that I can fix (25%)
  • Financial reasons (e.g. can't afford a hotel – 23%)

Despite many people being hesitant to evacuate, the survey found that a growing number of Florida residents are more concerned about this year's hurricane season.

According to the survey:

  • 27% of Floridians are more concerned about this year's hurricane season (5 percentage points more) than last year
  • 29% do not make advanced preparations for hurricane season or severe weather
  • 44% do not have an evacuation plan

Florida has seen a surge in new residents from other states since the pandemic, so many of them probably have never been through a hurricane.

This is why leaders urge everyone to prepare now, including stocking up on items such as water and non-perishable food before a storm forms.

"When a hurricane approaches, things can get chaotic, but developing a plan now will help alleviate some of the stress," Jennifer Pintacuda, president of AAA's Florida-based insurance companies.

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