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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak, D.Sc.

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel, Ph.D.

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Who Will Stay, Who Will Leave: Decision-Making of Residents Living in Potential Hurricane Impact Areas During a Hypothetical Hurricane Event in the Rio Grande Valley

Dean KyneORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2634-519X / Arlett Sophia Lomeli / William Donner / Erika Zuloaga
Published Online: 2018-04-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2017-0010


The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) has been impacted by various hurricanes throughout history. While Hurricane evacuation has been studied extensively in other contexts, there is limited systematic research on the warning and response to a large-scale severe weather event in South Texas. This study attempts to understand the evacuation decision-making behavior of Southern residents in the event of a Hurricane making landfall over the Rio Grande Valley. The study uses an online survey questionnaire with 1060 participants: 275 students attending the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the remaining 785 are members of the community. Throughout the course of the study, information was gathered about selected elements: demographic characteristics, living conditions, the following and awareness of authority recommendations, decision maker roles, reasons for not wanting to leave a disaster-prone area facing an emergency, perception of a safe place, and expected help from both, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during evacuation that could impact residents’ evacuation decision. Findings reveal there are a number of individuals who will remain in their place of residence, even in the deadliest of hurricane Category 5. The study provides complex factors influencing the nature of evacuation decision-making of individuals who are Hispanics living in a unique geographical location of RGV.

Keywords: evacuation decision making; Hurricane evacuation; Rio Grande Valley


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-04-18

Authors’ Contribution: Dean Kyne develops survey questionnaire, conducts online survey, collects data, carries out data analyzes and GIS analyses, creates visualizations, interprets the findings and compiles the manuscript. Arlett Sophia Lomeli translates the survey questionnaire into Spanish, collects data, and edits the manuscript. William Donner interprets the findings and complies the manuscripts. Erika Zuloaga assists in conducting literature search and helps the authors in collecting data during the research study period.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 20170010, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2017-0010.

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