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Kim Klockow University of Oklahoma Elise Schultz and Stephanie Mullins UAHuntsville 18 October 2011 National Weather Association Birmingham, AL Preliminary.

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Presentation on theme: "Kim Klockow University of Oklahoma Elise Schultz and Stephanie Mullins UAHuntsville 18 October 2011 National Weather Association Birmingham, AL Preliminary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kim Klockow University of Oklahoma Elise Schultz and Stephanie Mullins UAHuntsville 18 October 2011 National Weather Association Birmingham, AL Preliminary Look at Public Perceptions of and Responses to Warnings in the 27 April 2011Tornado Outbreak

2 This is Alabama?? Cullman EF-4 (Morrow) Rainsville EF-5 Hackleburg/Tanner EF-5 Cullman/Arab EF-4

3

4 Public perceptions & response Note: Preliminary findings! Public was largely cognizant of anticipated severity Critically important: Built-up awareness, continued attention Relation to April 3, 1974 Optimism bias always present What realistic response looks like Uncertainty reduction/calibration ideas The last few minutes Mix of information sources TV, radio* & NWR, sirens**, internet (NWS, private vendors) Family/friends, police scanners (local) The environment! Locally-situated understandings of hazards/science, or folk science A significant issue: local, situated understandings of hazards, or folk science

5 Spatial Awareness What information, specifically, was sought? What is that *best* information to provide? Loops, trajectory cones, TOAs* (primary) Local information (primary) Each person had an action/response threshold. People dont comprehend large tornado scale Footage of tornadoes (secondary) Three sources of uncertainty Trajectory of storm (where) Tornado yes/no (existence) Severity/strength (how bad) Key Idea: There are a lot of tradeoffs involved! Level of detail Provide clear, simple, and decision-relevant information Technical capabilities to provide detail without meaningful errors. What the world looks like, approximately, to someone responding to a tornado threat.

6 Suggestions from interviewees Fix county-based sirens so theyre a better cue Their definition of a false alarm != ours Tell people to put their shoes on or grab them before seeking shelter Many injuries sustained when leaving their safe place, rescues precluded Tell ambulances to carry fix-a-flat Broadcasters: Be aware of radio audience! Comprehensible spatial references, scale descriptions Especially important when audience grows in the final minutes before a tornado hits, and nearing storm knocks out power: continued understanding is critical Dont linger too long on tornado video or a zoomed-in still image Keep a map up so people know where the tornado is and is going Give people a small inset map so they know where youre zoomed in to Show loops so people can infer trajectory

7 Cullman County Population: 80,500 Sirens only turned on for tornado warnings Increase in reports of SLC types after 27 th Public on edge Talks to public to advocate preparedness Facebook page starting Jan: ~3,000 likes Post other items (road status, etc) in addition to wx info Reduction in phone calls Hams, fax, media, …

8 Marion County Population: ~30,000 Public aware prior to 27 th led to preparedness actions? Emergency response overwhelmed Communication issues , office twitter account (~60 followers) Power loss – was like we went back in time Mass notification system: wish list ($$) 22 community shelters in county Recovery/response difficult w/ limited resources, diversified industry Tuscaloosa vs. Hackleburg (pop. 1300)

9 Lawrence County Population: ~35,000 Sirens coverage limited 3 main populated areas Moulton, Town Creek, and Browns Ferry Talking siren (Moulton) used on April 27 Once power lost = no sirens NWS EMA and in warning text – good job of emphasis multi rounds, but public let guard down Overwhelming new interest in shelters FEMA assistance program 5 community shelters approved, 8 more applied for Only one now is in Moulton (pop. ~3200) Facebook account: started after 27 th, 1500+

10 Mt Hope (Lawrence Co) Residents Left: Shelter residents, their friends & neighbors survived in Bottom left: entrance way (note pole that blocked way out) Below: interviewing residents/friends who survived, progress on new house with shelter in background

11 Madison County Population: ~320,000 Close connection to NWS Most all EMs have this Location helps Madison here Sirens used only for ][ warnings Can only alert entire county Problem of a perceived higher FAR Website, media, Facebook page As with all EMs, strong connection with HAMs Difficulties with allocation of resources Sharing amongst other counties good, but a challenge when multiple rounds of svr wx impact the region over the entire day

12 DeKalb County Population: ~70,000 Good model for others Sirens sectioned off Helps to limit an increase in perceived FAR Mass notification system Public signs up (free) Phone calls, text messages Facebook page: NWS forecasts, warnings, statements Road, power, other conditions 2 way flow of info, reduction in phone calls On 27 th though, power loss… Post 27 th : SLC reports

13 Rainsville (DeKalb Co) Resident Above, left: aftermath to home, garage, vehicles Right: shelter where family survived This was home, and yet they are grateful, hopeful, and optimistic.

14 Now vs. Need: Localized warnings SBWs good, but sirens not tied to them in most areas Increases perceived FAR 27 th well forecasted Shorter term info to public TV, Smartphones, NWR, etc Social media presence – now in nearly all EMA offices Awareness high now, but for how long? Geospatial reference improvements

15 Thank You! Questions?


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