What would you do if a major hurricane was heading for our shores? Would you follow a mandatory evacuation order? Meteorologist Sonya Stevens tells us why many of you would leave town, and why some plan to stay put. When hurricanes hit, the coast can be a dangerous place. That is why mandatory evacuations are sometimes issued. Escaping high winds, sheets of rain, and possible flooding can save lives. Wilmington resident Luis Cruz said, "Mandatory evacuation -- I would probably leave. It just doesn't make any sense to stay." According to a Harvard School of Public Health survey, 61 percent said the would evacuate too. James Maxwell, who owns a rental condo at Wrightsville Beach, said, "No question, we would leave. Our downstairs neighbors stayed for a category one hurricane and he said he would never do it again. And that was a real mild hurricane, but we wouldn't hesitate to take off." Those who said they would stay behind had reasons for doing so -- crowded streets, no where to go, and fear of not knowing what would happen to their homes. "If you stay, you run the risk of running out of all those supplies at your own house and then if you get in trouble, somebody has to come and save you. So then you are putting the rescue workers at risk as well," said Cruz. The study looked at hurricane readiness in eight hurricane prone states, including ours. Residents who live within 20 miles of the coast were included. That encompasses parts of Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties. Wrightsville Beach homeowner Hazeline Anderson said, "We have been through too many hurricanes. We were at Morehead City when Hazel came through and we were two blocks from the sound. And that was enough experience for me to know how horrible a storm can be, a hurricane. I would not want to be at the beach." And local officials don't want you to be there either, which is why a mandatory evacuation order is issued in the first place. Five hundred people along the North Carolina coast were surveyed for the study. You can learn more by reading the entire Harvard survey.
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