Hardest Hit by Hurricane Michael and Least Prepared to Evacuate

Evacuation Preparedness in Florida

A study released by Florida Atlantic University’s  Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) found that the vast majority of counties in the Florida Panhandle were less prepared for emergency evacuation compared to the rest of the state. Of the 67 counties in Florida, 10 were rated as having weak levels of evacuation preparedness, and all of these counties were located in the Panhandle/North Florida. Eleven of 16 counties with moderately rated plans also were in this region. Only seven of the counties in the Panhandle had strong plans.

View ANIMATED MAP | MAP | See media coverage and related research below.

Multiple television, radio, and online news outlets featured the research: WIRED.COMCBS MiamiWTSP Channel 10CBS12.com|. Listen to a report by National Public Radio (NPR)’s Science Desk reporter Rebecca Hersher

On October 24-27, 2019, Dr. John Renne, AICP, presented a research poster Evacuating Carless and Vulnerable Populations: How prepared are Florida Counties? at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Conference in Greenville, SC. The interactive poster highlighted Dr. Renne’s research with doctoral student Andrea Ramos, which examined levels of preparedness for evacuating, for example, people with special needs and people with pets.


In 2017, Estefania Mayorga, a CUES graduate researcher, presented a poster at the APA Florida Conference highlighting an Evacuation Preparedness Rating System. The research rated 33 city evacuation plans along five criteria: special needs registries, specialized transportation for individuals with specific needs, pick-up location plan, multimodal plan, and pedestrian plan. Of the cities assessed, seven have strong plans exhibiting best practices in detail, rating “green.” Twenty others have moderately good plans; however, several focused only on downtown areas. Cities with strong plans had experienced strong hurricanes in the past or another event leading to greater preparedness.

Evacuation Preparedness Rating System Poster-Estefania Mayorga