Most Floridians prepared for hurricane despite COVID-19, USF survey finds

By The Numbers

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Researchers at the University of South Florida have released the final set of findings in their statewide survey about emergency preparedness and coronavirus.

Statewide, 600 Floridians were asked by USF’s School of Public Affairs to respond to the survey, which measured emergency preparedness as well as general opinions regarding the COVID-19 public health crisis and related policy issues.

Responses came from all across the state. Here’s where those who were surveyed live:

  • Northeast Florida – 14%
  • Tampa Bay Metro – 17%
  • Southwest Florida – 11%
  • Orlando/Daytona – 18%
  • Palm Beach/Treasure Coast – 10%
  • Southeast Florida – 23%
  • Northwest Florida – 7%

Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, most Floridians still have a hurricane readiness plan in place, the study found.

Residents are split, however, on whether or not coronavirus would impact their decision to evacuate if a hurricane were to come their way.

“Following a voluntary evacuation order, nearly half of Floridians (47%) said that COVID-19 would not affect their decision to evacuate while 44% said they would be less likely,” the study found. “Only 9% stated that they would be more likely to follow an evacuation order.”

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed did say they would be less likely to go to a hurricane shelter this year because of COVID-19.

Hurricanes in the midst of a public health crisis top the list of concerns for Florida residents.

Nearly 90% of those surveyed shared concerns about their community facing a hurricane-related wind event and 73% were worried about hurricane-related flooding in the next year.

This hurricane season has been particularly active. Our Tracking the Tropics team is currently monitoring three tropical systems in the Atlantic – one with a 90% chance of development.

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