7.6A Place Attachment, Climatology, and Tornado Risk Perception in Central Oklahoma

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 11:45 AM
North 226C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Victoria A. Johnson, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and R. A. Peppler and K. E. Klockow-McClain

Handout (35.6 MB)

Residents of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area are constantly threatened by natural disasters such as tornadoes. The perceptions they carry relating to these hazards affect their behavioral choices, making them an important subject of study. This presentation will cover a few potential influences on tornado risk perception in a place frame, including place attachment and tornado climatology, which may serve as a proxy for tornado experience in place. Residents across central Oklahoma were surveyed about their attachment to their place of inhabitance, and their perception of tornado proneness for that location. Python and ArcGIS mapping tools were then used to identify relationships between respondents and local tornado events. Research found that dimensions of this climatology, such as tornado frequency, nearness and severity have complex effects on risk perception. Additional factors were also influential, including the relationship between the individual and the urban center of Oklahoma City, and other place-specific heterogeneities that were not tied to any obvious physical feature or the tornado climatology. Respondents whose resulting perceptions of risk were lower reported lower rates of intending to prepare during tornado watches. By studying place-based perceptions, this research aims to provide a scientific basis for improved communication efforts before and during tornado events, and for identifying vulnerable populations.
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