Warnings and Extreme Weather Events

April 19, 2017

Speaker 1: Rachel Hogan-Carr, Nature-Nurture Center

"Designing Data to Communicate Risk: A case study in flood forecasts"

How can flood forecasts be improved so that they are more easily understood and more likely to motivate people to take protective actions?  This is the leading question behind three social science studies conducted by Nurture Nature Center and East Carolina University since 2012.  The findings from these studies highlight the importance of understanding how public and professional audiences use, interpret and act upon various weather and flood forecast products and tools.  Through focus groups, surveys and interviews, the research team engaged with public and professional audiences in communities prone to riverine and coastal flooding, and identified key elements to design and delivery of flood forecast products.  The research team made proposed revisions to various National Weather Service flood forecast products to improve public and professional use of this critical forecast data.  This presentation will highlight key findings from the studies, which studied primarily NWS coastal and flood forecast products, including hydrographs, extratropical storm surge graphics, flood watches and warnings, and ensemble forecast products from NWS regional and national forecast systems MMEFS and HEFS.  

Speaker 2: Michael Egnoto, University of Maryland

"No place like home: How mobile home residents understand and respond to tornado warnings"

False alarms are a highly contested factor in understanding non-response during tornadoes. These non-compliance actions may be a contributing factor to the cost of life caused by tornado events throughout the southeastern United States. This talk seeks to recount research aimed at bettering the understanding of how complacency impacts tornado message outcomes through a series of focus group and large scale survey deployments, with special attention paid to various housing types individuals affected by tornadoes dwell in throughout the region. Findings indicate the impacts from previous experience, communication channel and source influence, general weather knowledge, response rates to warnings, actions taken after warnings are received, and the role of meteorologists in understanding the complex process of decision making during weather crises.

Click here to see other recordings in the OAR Social Science Network webinar series. 

        

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.

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