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Coastal residents say they're not worried about hurricanes

June 01, 2007|From the Associated Press

MIAMI — Many people along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts still lack a hurricane survival plan and don't feel vulnerable to storms, despite Hurricane Katrina's dramatic damage and pleas from emergency officials for residents to prepare before the season starts, according to a poll released Thursday.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season starts today, and forecasters have predicted an above-average year: 13 to 17 named storms, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes and three to five of those reaching at least Category 3 strength. One forecaster said odds were high that a major hurricane would hit the U.S. this year.

Nevertheless, 44% of people who live within 30 miles of the shore in 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states say they feel "not too" vulnerable or "not at all" vulnerable to a hurricane or to related tornadoes and flooding, according to the Mason-Dixon poll.

The poll was commissioned by the organizers of the 2007 National Hurricane Survival Initiative. The group includes the National Hurricane Center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Emergency Management Assn., the Salvation Army and others.

National Hurricane Center Director Bill Proenza said a population shift to the nation's coastlines may be contributing to the lack of readiness.

"We actually have more and more people with little or no experience with hurricanes and tropical storms," Proenza said.

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