This comes courtesy of Florida resident mylordshesacactus on Tumblr; here are some excerpts:
Do not think for a moment that just because you’re “only” experiencing Cat 1 winds that this storm can’t kill your ass dead. Do not underestimate what the death throes of a dying god can do.
In hurricane-prone areas, the threat is felt year-round.
All the major intersections? Our stoplights aren’t hung on wires from wooden poles–those blow down too easily. They’re bolted to thick metal pipes, “hurricane-proof”. Major roadways that are above floodlines are labelled as evacuation routes.
Things like that.
(Remember–by the time a storm “makes landfall,” everything for miles around has been experiencing the storm for hours already. “Landfall” is when the EYE of the storm first hits land, not when the storm “arrives”.)
But hurricanes are…vast. Look up satellite footage of hurricanes. Really look at it. Look at how much sheer area they cover.
Most places do not experience landfall-level disaster. That’s why, when people evacuate–well, when residents evacuate, the tourists and recent transplants tend to panic harder–you’re basically always evacuating to someplace that will still have vanished under that mass of swirling clouds. Evacuation sites are still inside the hurricane, but wind speed, storm surge, etc–everything drops dramatically even a few miles from the eye.