I would never criticize anyone for staying home during a hurricane/tornado incident, even if there is a mandatory evacuation issued for the area. I have never been in a situation where I’ve gone through any kind of evacuation, mandatory or otherwise (knock on wood), but I know that if such a thing were to happen - I would not want to leave home.
In addition to the obvious reasons that people don’t leave, i.e. lack of finances for a hotel room & no family/friends to stay with in the interim; too ill to travel; no vehicle to leave with and/or unable to drive for whatever reason; etc. - leaving home during one of these events leaves you vulnerable to any/all of the below happening:
-Going out on a highway with hundreds of others & getting stranded because of traffic (since everyone else is leaving with you) and/or because you run out of gas. Screw that.
-Going along with the above, driving out somewhere where there’s a lot of water & having the car get flooded/ruined because of this, and then having to abandon the car - and then having no place to go. Screw that as well.
- Going into a shelter and getting shot/stabbed/injured. I’ve done volunteer work in homeless shelters, and those places can definitely be dangerous. Add to this the added tensions of many people there in close quarters to each other (unwillingly) & also worried/stressed out because of the potential storm damage to their homes/worry about their family/worry about their employment, etc. - and you have a recipe for disaster.
-Not being home to deal with some flood damage that happens to the house - that could have been mitigated/prevented if I were home, i.e. a small hole in the roof, water entering the house from outside, etc. - I’ve gone over this in more detail below.
-Have your valuables be vulnerable to theft by looters/criminals who break into your house in your absence, by taking advantage of the situation re: numerous people leaving their homes empty & being gone for an indeterminate length of time. We saw this during Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, and I’m sure it’s happened in other cases as well.
Going along with the above:
-I do pay close attention to these hurricane/tornado events; and, I do live in an area that has experienced some flooding - i.e., there have been times where there has been heavy rain here, and streets have flooded. People have also drowned in my area due to driving into a flooded area & miscalculating the amount of water they’re driving into. I’ve also seen water coming OUT of storm drains in some areas, since the system is getting flooded.
- In one case, during an extremely torrential downpour one of my down-spouts was filled with leaves (which I didn’t know ahead of time), and because of the blockage excess water was dumping all over my front yard area, uncomfortably close to my home. Since I was home, after some difficulty I unclogged the blockage & make sure the water was flowing through the down-spout normally. However, if I hadn’t been home to address the situation, my house may have gotten at least somewhat flooded - which is why I’m emphasizing that it’s important for homeowners to be home & deal with issues like this.