Examining the Use of a Contraflow Evacuation Method for Tropical Cyclone Evacuations in Nueces County, Texas
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Millions of residents along the United States Gulf Coast live with the threat of tropical cyclones. These potentially devastating storms, more commonly referred to as hurricanes in the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern or central North Pacific Ocean east of the International Dateline, bring damaging winds, heavy rains, severe flooding, and powerful storm surges that can quickly devastate any area in their path. Due to the dangers of these storms, coastal areas create evacuation plans that allow area residents to safely leave the city before they are impacted. This study examined a contraflow evacuation plan for Corpus Christi, Texas in an attempt to model what a major tropical cyclone evacuation might look like for this region. Using ArcGIS, several potential evacuation routes were created in Nueces County, Texas to simulate an evacuation under “optimal,” “expected,” and “worst case” scenarios. Results of this study show that while a contraflow evacuation plan has the potential to cause severe traffic congestions and extremely long evacuation times, under both “optimal” and “expected” conditions it serves as an effective evacuation method out of the city.