People Weigh Evacuations Ahead Of Ike

KEY WEST, FL — Forecasters say coastal residents on the Gulf of Mexico need to be watching as Hurricane Ike takes its uncertain path.

The Category-2 storm sweeping over Cuba is expected to re-emerge over the island’s western coast tomorrow morning about 105 miles south of Key West, Florida, as a Category 1. It’s on track to head into the Gulf.

In Key West, evacuation orders are mandatory. Some 15,000 tourists fled, but most of the 25,000 residents have stayed behind, at least for now.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal urged residents to get ready to head north again. He says so-called “hurricane fatigue” should not prevent people who fled Gustav from evacuating their homes a second time.

Hugh Gladwin isn’t surprised to hear that many people might stay. He’s director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research at Florida International University and has studied evacuations in Florida and after Hurricane Katrina.

Gladwin says some people always refuse to evacuate, no matter how scary the storm, because they “like being in hurricanes.”