There is a LOT that goes into the calculus of "do I stay, or do I go?"
I live in Marathon 50 miles north of Key West. The eye wall of Irma went down our street. That's not hyperbole, it literally went down our street.
I wasn't here for the storm. I was able to get in about 10 days after. The destruction really is beyond description, and all the news video in the world doesn't capture it.
I've talked to a lot of folks since the storm. One woman who stayed said to me "I have three big dogs and two birds, where would I go? What hotel would take me?". And it's not always clear whether pets will be allowed into shelters. You'd have to be a truly cruel person to leave an animal behind to fend for itself.
As Chef said when all your worldly possessions are in that house, how do you simply drive away?
A lot of people gauge the decision on the wind strength of the storm. "A Cat 1 or 2 I'll stay, a Cat 3 or more I'm out of here". But Michael spooled up so fast that logic trapped people. What they thought was going to be an uncomfortable night riding out a Cat 2 turned out to be a life threatening Cat 5 so fast the choice was made for them.
The other thing is every storm is different. When Wilma blew through the Keys the Gulf side of the islands took the storm surge and flooded. With Irma it was the opposite and homes that had no water during Wilma were washed away on the ocean side.
And there's no category to predict storm surge.
Michael has made me re-think my own storm strategy, but I won't judge others for the hard choices they make.
As Chef2Sail said "There but for the grace of God go I".
Do these people not watch the news?
These people are there to help whether it's a hurricane in Florida or a tornado in the Mid-West.