With hurricane Irene poised to come barreling up the mid-Atlantic region this weekend (and
the potential for evacuation in New York City), we were inspired to take a look at hurricane and other coastal evacuation maps as provided by states along the eastern seaboard.
The range of information, iconography, detail and even the use (or absence) of legends is strikingly varied. But I was also surprised at how easy or difficult it was to find useful hurricane, storm surge or evacuation information on the state level. While its understandable that local communities, cities and counties in coastal areas that regularly have to deal with tropical storms would be better at providing relevant information, it was still unsettling how hard it could be to dig up simple maps on official state websites—and sometimes I couldn't even find those.
Another unexpected trend I noticed was that north of the Mason-Dixon line there was a lot more reliance on links to FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers resources for emergency information (universities and flood insurance providers also tend to provide lots of info). For these maps I intentionally stuck with what I could find on state (and if necessary county or city) government websites with less than 5 minutes of searching.
All images link back to their original websites or PDFs. Stay safe this weekend (and maybe stock up on some fresh water & batteries)!
Georgia's Atlantic coast evacuation routes linked to from GA's Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security - Hurricanes
SC DoT Statewide Coastal Evacuation Map
NC Hurricane Evacuation Routes provided by the Dept of Transportation
MD Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Management Map
from DE All Hazards Evacuation Annex
Clearly some maps work better than others. Should we push for better usability and conformity standards in emergency response diagrams? Which details work best and which are extraneous? Who's got your favorite maps?