Predictions help, but cannot be completely accurate because Nature has a mind of its own.
I have survived 3 major hurricanes. Andrew in South Florida in 1992, Ivan in 2004 in Pensacola and Dennis in 2005 in Pensacola. I think these are the correct years.
You can prepare your home, your yard, your pets, bring in food and water, leave if you think it is necessary, do everything you are told prior to the hurricane hitting land, but you cannot prepare your emotions for the devastation you find after the storm.
If you leave there is only so much you can physically take. Usually 1 or 2 changes of clothes, valuables, and loved ones are the limit.
Imagine when you pull away from your home with all your belongings and memories left behind how you must feel. You don't know if your will have anything left when you return, because every hurricane is different.
Andrew was full of tornadoes and completely flattened and destroyed everything in it path, strewing personal belongings from the homes as far away as the Everglades. It looked as if a nuclear bomb had exploded and left matchsticks instead of homes and buildings. Boats were taken from the Ocean marinas and dropped into swimming pools in the backyards of homes far inland. It was considered a dry hurricane and left quickly. We followed Andrew's track across the Atlantic and it barely wavered from its heading toward Miami.
Ivan roared up the Gulf of Mexico becoming a major hurricane. It was over the water for a long time swirling and picking up lots of water before coming ashore. Since there is no outlet at the northern end of the Gulf, all that water was pushed up onto the land and covered homes, washed away roads and buildings, and picked up sections of Interstate 10 bridge crossing the Bay and dropped the sections into the Bay, leaving huge sections of the bride gone. Three years later homes are still not rebuilt, roads and piers are still being constructed, roofs still have blue tarps covering them.
The next year Dennis came along the same path into the northern Gulf only further to the East on the Panhandle. The houses in the Pensacola area that were not damaged by Ivan were hit by Dennis. More devastation and fighting with insurance companies followed and is still ongoing.
Then there was Katrina. We were scared to death when it started up the Gulf and cried with Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama when we saw the total devastation and lack of quick response to those people.
In 2007 as I sit here and write this, we are watching a Category 5 hurricane that is predicted to hit the Mexico/Texas coast. We do not want to see it hit anyplace, but we still worry that something about the weather will change unexpectedly and the storm will turn North and come to the Panhandle of Florida or one of the other areas along our coast line.
We all thank the people who work so hard at making the predictions. At least they warn us and give us time to prepare.