8A.6 The response of university students to Severe Weather Watches

Tuesday, 28 October 2008: 12:00 AM
North & Center Ballroom (Hilton DeSoto)
Rebecca M. Belobraydich, National Weather Center REU, Norman, OK ; and M. D. Biddle

While the forecasting ability of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has increased through the years and the watches that are issued have become increasingly more accurate and precise, it is what people do with the information that is given to them that ultimately makes the difference. The best product that the SPC puts out can become ineffective if people are not aware of it or do not respond to it in the appropriate manner. For this study, students from both Northern Illinois University and the University of Oklahoma were surveyed in order to discover more about their knowledge of and response to the Severe Weather Watches issued by the SPC. They were asked questions concerning what they knew about severe weather watches and how they learned of and responded to them. Questions were included to find out if the students knew what a watch is, how they learned of a watch when one was issued, and what their response to a watch was, whether it meant changing plans, being more aware of the weather conditions, actively staying updated on the weather situation, informing other people about the watch, or doing nothing at all. In addition, other questions regarding their demographics and some personal information, such as their age, gender, residence, and personal experience with severe weather, were asked, and their responses were then used in order to discern if there was any correlation between the students' demographics and their knowledge and response to Severe Weather Watches. The data that was collected through the survey is in no way complete or meant to give a complete picture of how people make decisions regarding severe weather watches. However, it will hopefully provide some insight that can be built upon in future studies.
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