As most New Yorkers and readers know, a hurricane is a dangerous storm  Further, it goes without saying that the safest habit is to leave when government officials request that residents of a likely affected area leave.

Even so, there are stragglers, the non-compliant, and others who will attempt to ride out the storm. Emergency officials say that not leaving increases the risk of injuries and fatalities from the storm.

As of Wednesday at 1 p.m. EDT Hurricane Irene, with top winds of 115 miles per hour / 185 kilometers per hour, was expected to start affecting the New York metropolitant aea by Sunday at 9 a.m. EDT.

But that's the downside of not evacuating.

Here's the upside: Listed below are the Top 3 positive reasons for evacuating a probable Hurricane Irene strike area when government officials, such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, request you to do so:


1. Access Roads / Mass Transit -- The New York metropolitan area's highways -- such as the Long Island Expressway, New York State Thruway, and New Jersey Turnpike -- will be jammed with cars and other vehicles with people who leave late, after city and state officials have requested people to evacuate. Ditto for mass transit systems, which also might not operate.

Hence, if you prepare now, and leave if/when the Mayor Bloomberg or Govs. Cuomo or Christie ask you to evacuate, you'll be able to get to your destination quicker -- or in the case of those who leave late -- get there period.


2. Downtime / Freetime -- If you leave when asked by public officials, you'll have time to spend with your family, kids, extended relatives, friends, or whomever you're staying with.

True, the storm is huge and if you're within 300 miles of the strike point, you're likely to still be affected by heavy rains and strong winds, but the point here is that if you've evacuated to a safe area ahead of the storm, you can spent time watching movies, or enjoying the company of each other, or just hunkering down. You won't be spending that time stuck in traffic.

Moreover, assuming electric power conditions hold, it's a great time to watch a movie or two, or read a book, or just chill out, and monitor the storm on t.v. - which will undoubtedly have a great deal of coverage.

If you have kids, they'll probably be playng video games or will be on the Internet with any computer they can find at your temporary residence.


3. Peace of Mind -- You'll have peace of mind knowing that you've made the right decision, protecting yourself and family/friends.

Historically, one frequent criticism or knock against evacuating on time has been I wasn't there to protect my house/condo/apartment and/or property/belongings.

The above is probably the worst excuse for not evacuating when asked to do so.

The reason?  After you've removed all potential flying objects from your yard and locked your house/apartment, if you stay in an area about to be hit by the hurricane, there's little that you can do to protect your house by staying, and you could endanger your life and/or the lives of others.

In other words, if the storm hits your home address, the damage that might occur to your house /apartment will occur whether you are there or not.


Discretion: The Better Part of Valor

Therefore, make the smart decision: evacuate when public officials request that you do so. Being safe, away from the storm, beats the alternative.