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In these last days before the June 1 start of hurricane season, forecasters and disaster-response planners are coming to the dispiriting conclusion that few lessons were learned last year from Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Waterfront construction continues to boom along the Gulf of Mexico and Florida's Atlantic coastline, with tens of thousands of new homes in harm's way alongside the rebuilding of those demolished.
More than 100,000 people displaced by last year's storms are still living in government trailers, despite emergency planners' warnings that the temporary shelters are at risk of blowing apart, like most mobile homes in the region, if even a strong tropical storm passes.
It's not at all clear that coastal residents are paying that much attention. After more than 20 years of seasonal forecasts for Atlantic hurricanes from one group and nearly 10 years' worth from others, a recent survey suggests too many residents in hurricane-prone areas aren't taking the basic steps that emergency-management experts recommend.
For example, fewer than half of Gulf and Atlantic coast residents have a family-response plan or a hurricane "survival kit," according to a poll of 1,100 Americans for the National Hurricane Survival Initiative. At least a third lack adequate insurance.