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Hunker Down Or Head Out? When To Evacuate A City

Evacuation residents from the Meyerland area walk onto an I-610 overpass for further help during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.
Evacuation residents from the Meyerland area walk onto an I-610 overpass for further help during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.

Almost as soon as Harvey made landfall, the questions began:

Why wasn’t Houston evacuated?”

Consensus seems to be that the mayor was right not to order residents out of the city to escape flooding, but the decision is never made easily. And even if it is made, it can be hard to get people to follow the order.

It doesn’t just happen during storms and floods. Whether it’s wildfires or other threats, many people often don’t want to — or don’t think they need to — evacuate.

How do plans come together to evacuate a city? Who makes the decision? And why do some people not agree?

GUESTS

Bill King, Former columnist with the Houston Chronicle. Served on a gubernatorial task force designed to make improvements after the deadly evacuations during Hurricane Rita.

Brian Wolshon, Professor of civil engineering at Louisiana State University, specializing in roads and traffic. Director of the Gulf Coast Center of Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency.

Gail Delaughter, Reporter, Houston Public Media

Melvin “Kip” Holden, Former mayor of Baton Rouge. Served for 12 years, from 2005 to 2016.

For more, visit http://the1a.org.

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