Agent-Based Modeling and Analysis of Hurricane Evacuation Procedures for the Florida Keys
Authors: Chen, Xuwei; Meaker, John; Zhan, F.
Source: Natural Hazards, Volume 38, Number 3, July 2006 , pp. 321-338(18)
Abstract:The unique geography of the Florida Keys presents both high risk of hurricane landfall and exceptional vulnerability to the effects of a hurricane strike. Inadequate hurricane shelters in the Keys make evacuation the only option for most residents, but the sole access road can become impassable well in advance of a major storm. These extraordinary conditions create challenges for emergency managers who must ensure that appropriate emergency plans are in place and to ensure that an orderly exodus can occur without stranding large numbers of people along an evacuation route with inadequate shelter capacity. This study attempts to answer two questions: (1) What is the minimum clearance time needed to evacuate all residents participating in an evacuation of the Florida Keys in advance of a major hurricane for 92,596 people – a population size calculated based on the 2000 US Census population data, census undercounts, and the number of tourists estimated to be in the area? (2) If a hurricane makes landfall in the Keys while the evacuation is in progress, how many residents will need to be accommodated if the evacuation route becomes impassable? The authors conducted agent-based microsimulations to answer the questions. Simulation results suggest that it takes 20 h and 11 min to 20 h and 14 min to evacuate the 92,596 people. This clearance time is less than the Florida state mandated 24-h clearance time limit. If one assumes that people evacuate in a 48-h period and the traffic flow from the Keys would follow that observed in the evacuation from Hurricane Georges, then a total of 460 people may be stranded if the evacuation route becomes impassable 48 h after an evacuation order is issued. If the evacuation route becomes impassable 40 h after an evacuation order is issued, then 14,000 people may be stranded.
Document Type: Research Article
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Publication date: July 2006