2.2 Improving Hurricane Risk Communication for Vulnerable Populations

Monday, 13 January 2020: 10:45 AM
152 (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Sharanya J. Majumdar, University of Miami, Miami, FL; and B. Millet, K. Broad, A. Cairo, and S. Evans

An interdisciplinary team at the University of Miami involving experts in risk perception, data visualization, community psychology, hurricane prediction, and human factors, has recently formed to explore hurricane risk communication for vulnerable populations. A long-term goal of this “HURAKAN” project is to contribute to the design of an information provision system that communicates the minimal critical pieces of information to the maximum number of people from diverse backgrounds. There is a recognition that people have difficulty interpreting probabilistic forecasts and making decisions based on them, and that the poorest communities often bear a disproportionate burden of these natural disasters. This provides a challenge in visually communicating risk and potential threats. Initial activities to address this problem include (i) a synthesis of the literature to identify key gaps; (ii) eight focus groups involving underserved segments of the population in Miami-Dade County; (iii) an online survey with 2800+ residents of Florida; (iv) design of prototype visualizations and lab experiments to evaluate these visualizations; and (v) stakeholder engagement including the forecasting and broadcasting communities. Initial attention has been focused on the National Hurricane Center’s “Cone of Uncertainty”, and several common results have been found. These include frequent misinterpretation of the cone graphics, and the stated interest by participants in receiving clear information that would help them make informed decisions about what to do and when. Results and conclusions from these activities will be presented, together with ongoing and future efforts targeted at impact-based graphical design.
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