A survey of residents in Alabama’s two coastal counties found many expect this hurricane season will be as bad or worse than last year, and they are making preparations, including buying generators.
Forty percent of the 400 adults responding to the Mobile Register-University of South Alabama poll said they had already bought a generator and another 20 percent said they plan to get one before the hurricane season starts June 1.
Forty-three percent said they had trees removed around their house to protect against hurricane damage, and 15 percent said they plan to do that. The paper published the survey findings last Sunday.
The coastal Alabama counties of Baldwin and Mobile have been through two rough hurricane seasons with Ivan in 2004 and Katrina in 2005.
When asked about the upcoming season, 42 percent said they expect the 2006 season to be about the same as last year, 24 percent expect it to be worse, and 21 percent believe it will be better. The remaining 13 percent didn’t know or gave no answer.
Walt Dickerson, director of the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency, said he looks at the poll results as a good thing. “It’s good for the citizens to have a sense of urgency,” he said.
Edward Dismukes, president of Wilson-Dismukes, a Mobile store that sells generators, said his business has been booming even though no storm is in sight. “They expect, and they’re anxious about having, another storm season where they’re without power for more than a couple of hours,” Dismukes said.
While coastal residents expressed concern about the upcoming hurricane season, the survey got different results when it asked what people would do if emergency management officials ordered an evacuation for homes in their area. Forty-four percent said they would follow the order, and 53 percent said they would try to make an independent assessment of whether an evacuation was really necessary.
Mike Evans, director of plans and operations for the Mobile County EMA, was surprised by the numbers. He said people who judge new storms by past ones could end up like people in coastal Mississippi who stayed during Katrina because their homes hadn’t been flooded by Hurricane Camille in 1969.
He noted that some who stayed at home for Katrina died and many more regretted their decisions.
The random telephone survey, conducted March 13-16, had a sampling error margin of plus or minus five percentage points.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.