From the National Hurricane Center press release on new storm surge guidelines:
We cannot overstate the importance of following evacuation orders and other instructions from local officials, regardless of the category or strength of a tropical storm or hurricane. Ignoring evacuation orders risks not only the lives of those who stay behind, but also the lives of first responders who may be called upon to rescue them.
Storm surge and large waves produced by hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property along the coast.
From the National Hurricane Center Hurricane Preparedness Guide:
History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. The National Weather Service is responsible for protecting life and property through issuance of timely watches and warnings, but it is essential that your family be ready before a storm approaches. Furthermore, mariners should be aware of special safety precautions when confronted with a hurricane.
Download the Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide (PDF) or follow the links for more information. But remember, this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.