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Florida hurricane expert calls for study on why people don't evacuate

Geese swim in the flooded parking lot of Saint Simon's On the Sound Church in Fort Walton Beach, Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 as Hurricane Michael approaches the Florida Gulf Coast. (Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)

A Florida hurricane expert says officials need to study why so many people refuse to evacuate ahead of a deadly storm such as Hurricane Michael.

Craig Fugate is former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former emergency management chief for the state of Florida.

Fugate is skeptical of reports that 285 people refused to obey mandatory evacuation orders, though he did not doubt that many people in the Panhandle felt like they could not afford to evacuate or thought the storm would not hit so hard.

He said, "Why people didn't evacuate is something we should be studying ... Is there more the government can do? But we ask that every time."

He also said preventing more devastation in future hurricanes depends on people abandoning arguments that stringent building codes make homes too costly or difficult to build.

He called that "the realistic future Florida must face." He added, "We have to build better, more resilient homes so hurricanes aren't so devastating. It's not that we don't know how to build them."

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