Evacuation Plan for Hurricane Andrew in Miami Essay

Pages: 15 (4595 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Weather

Project management/Evacuation

Natural disasters can be devastating to people and property. Hurricanes can be particularly devastating and regions affected by hurricanes may take many years to recover. The threat posed by hurricanes must be taken seriously. One of the primary issues surrounding hurricanes is the ability to properly evacuate a region prior to the hurricane occurring. The purpose of this discussion to provide a Project management plan related to a hurricane evacuation plan. The research will draw information from the evacuation plan for Hurricane Andrew (August, 1992) as it pertains to Miami.

A hurricane evacuation plan is necessary for many different reasons. The primary need for such a plan it to save lives. Hurricanes can enter into a region with such force that winds and flooding produce destruction that can result in the loss of life. In addition an evacuation plan is necessary to ensure that all the people in the effected region have time to move to another location. In some instances this means that traffic on interstates have to be redirected so that they are all headed away from the storm. In addition once these individuals are in a new location there must be provisions present in the new location that will take care of the needs of evacuees. With all of this understood, like any type of project management plan, a hurricane evacuation plan involves complex types of management and procurement.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Evacuation Plan for Hurricane Andrew in Miami Assignment

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Hurricane Andrew was a Cape Verde hurricane that resulted in a great deal of human and economic devastation. An estimated $25 billion in damage and at the time it was the most expensive natural disaster in the history of the United States. The center reports that that the hurricane affected the Bahamas, the south Florida peninsula and parts of Louisiana. Miami was amongst the hardest hit regions. The center explains that Andrew "struck southern Dade County, Florida, especially hard, with violent winds and storm surges characteristic of a category 4 hurricane (later upgraded to category 5) on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale, and with a central pressure (922 mb) that is the third lowest this century for a hurricane at landfall in the United States. In Dade County alone, the forces of Andrew resulted in 15 deaths and up to one-quarter million people left temporarily homeless. An additional 25 lives were lost in Dade County from the indirect effects of Andrew. The direct loss of life seems remarkably low considering the destruction caused by this hurricane ("Hurricane Andrew")."

Strategic Project Plan

Methods, Tools, and Techniques associated with Evacuation Planning

Indeed the impact of Hurricane Andrew was unprecedented. Prior to the Hurricane those in charge of emergency management were presented with the need to implement an evacuation plan that would be effective in moving people out of danger. Evacuations are a difficult undertaking as they can cost millions of dollars and they also involve politically sensitive issues. (Wolshon 2005). These costs are not derived from a single source but instead involve multiple entities. With this understood when planning an evacuation managers need to ensure that the areas being evacuated are the areas that are most likely to be in danger as a result of the hurricane. Although this is a necessary expect of evacuation planning is often inaccurate because of the unpredictable nature of hurricanes. Wolshon (2005) explains that it is all but impossible to determine which geographic areas are going to incur the most damage or where human life may be at the most risk as a result of a hurricane making landfall. The author also explains that "No matter how accurate hurricane forecasts become in the future, uncertainties will always exist in storm track, intensity, and how storm phenomena interact with the natural and built environments. One solution would be to "err on the side of caution" and order evacuations for all locations having any potential risk (Wolshon 2005, 130)." Although accuracy in predicting what geographic regions will be affected by a storm is not possible, certain types of analysis that can be conducted related to the hazards and vulnerability present in certain regions. Such analysis will be explained in more detail in the paragraphs to follow.

Analysis as a tool in Project Management

Hazard and vulnerability Analysis

An article published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Armey Corps of Engineers, explains that hurricane evacuation studies must take place and the types of analyses used must be consistent with discovering certain types of information. The purpose of the hazards analysis is to "determine the probable worst-case effects for the various intensities of hurricanes that could strike an area. Specifically, a hazards analysis quantifies the expected hurricane-caused inundation that would require emergency evacuation of the population. Historically, the hazards analysis also has assumed that mobile homes outside the surge inundation area must be evacuated due to their vulnerablity to winds. The National Weather Services' SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes) numerical storm surge prediction model was used as the basis of the hazards analysis for studies completed in lower southeast Florida ("Hurricane Andrew Assessment-Florida," 11)."

For the purposes of project management in the realm of hurricane evaluation the hazards analysis plays a key role in determining they type of damage that might be incurred in a specific region. As it relates to evacuation such information is essential because it informs the decisions that managers make in deciding to proceed with evacuation plans. For instance, if the hazards analysis for areas that are 20 miles from the shoreline produce worst case scenarios that are relatively mild, these areas may not be asked to evacuate. Such an evacuation could costs a great deal and likely not be necessary. Additionally those who manae hurricane evacuation must be careful not to call for evacuations when they are unnecessary. Doing so can be quite dangerous in future events when evacuation really is necessary. People will remember previous times when they were asked to evacuate and it was not necessary. They will then be more likely not to evacuate when it is necessary because they will not have any confidence in those who are managing the evacuation. This could ultimately lead to a significant loss of life.

In addition to a hazard analysis a vulnerability analysis must also be conducted. A "vulnerability analysis uses the hazards analysis to identify the population potentially at risk to coastal flooding caused by the hurricane storm surge. Storm tide atlases are produced showing the inland extent of surge inundation for various hurricane intensities"

There are several specific questions that must be discussed as it pertains to a vulnerability analysis. These questions are retrospective and seek to explore what has happened in the past. These questions include:

What technical data/mapping was used to choose the areas to evacuate? For the most part SLOSH models are utilized to examine inundation maps and evacuation zones. These maps assist planners in deciding how to go about implementing evacuation plans. Managers must carefully study such maps to ensure that the areas being evacuated are reflected in past maps which show where the most damage occurred during past hurricanes.

Did the technical data provide a good depiction of the hazard area? In some cases the maps available are not as accurate as they could be. These inaccuracies are due in part to changes in topography, construction and the place at which the hurricane actually reaches land. All of these factors can have an effect on the accuracy of such maps. All of these factors must be taken into consideration when studying such maps.


Both of these analyses will be implemented early in the evacuation management process. This is extremely feasible for evacuation planning because evacuation planning is a task that is often in place prior to hurricanes occurring. That is, areas that are most vulnerable to being inundated with hurricanes already have some type of hurricane evacuation plan in place. These plans are usually inclusive of shelters of last resort, the reversing of traffic patterns and hurricane evacuation routes that are made visible to drivers along the highway. With this understood some hazard and vulnerability analysis has likely already been conducted and such analyses are likely based on past storms. When a hurricane is actually approaching the analyses may have to be conducted again to ensure that the proper people are being evacuated as it pertains to a specific hurricane. Any repeat analysis will take place prior to informing the public concerning which regions need to be evacuated.

Behavior analysis

Another important aspect of managing evacuation plans is behavior analysis. Such analysis is essential because it assist planners in determining how people respond when asked to evacuate. Knowing how people respond is critical for current and future evacuation efforts. Once managers understand the behaviors that people are likely to display they can evacuate in a manner that is more effective. In addition they can determine with some accuracy the number of people that will likely be travelling the highways.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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