Hurricane Research

In 2004, the Metropolitan Center collaborated with the International Hurricane Center to collect surveys from victims of Hurricane Charlie in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and Arcadia five days after the hurricane made landfall. Since then, the Center has been at the forefront of behavioral research on hurricanes including interviews, public opinion polls and focus groups. After Katrina, the Metropolitan Center's Rapid Response Team surveyed evacuees in Houston, Austin, and South Florida. After Rita, the Team interviewed emergency management officials in Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur) to assess their perceptions of the level of preparedness of their communities and the measures undertaken to protect lives and property. The data obtained from hurricane victims and public officials resulted in reports on victims' hurricane preparedness, information access and post-hurricane relief assistance.

In addition to field experience in post disaster assessments, the Center has a track record of public opinion polling and focus groups. Since 2006 the Center has been conducting annual statewide polls on hurricane preparedness. In 2008 the Center implemented seven focus groups (Miami, Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Pensacola) with Florida residents in order to gauge their opinions about the impact of hurricanes on their lives, mitigation measures they have and are willing to undertake, as well as the potential incentives that may motivate them to secure their homes. Some of the results of our behavioral research are presented below.