Poster Session P2.49 An Effort to Increase Storm Surge Threat Awareness for the Charleston, SC Area Using a Web-based Visualization Tool and Associated Survey

Thursday, 13 May 2010
Arizona Ballroom 7 (JW MArriott Starr Pass Resort)
Frank Alsheimer, NOAA/NWSFO, North Charleston, SC; and R. Bright, B. L. Lindner, J. Johnson, and S. Duke

Handout (280.2 kB)

Several hurricanes in the past 20 years have made headlines due to large storm surges and videos of these surges have proliferated in both the traditional and electronic media in Charleston, South Carolina. However, many residents of the area still do not fully comprehend the threat of storm surge in their particular neighborhood. In fact, a 2001 survey of 202 Charleston area residents found that 55% did not realize the main threat from a major hurricane in coastal areas was from storm surge, even though 93% had experienced hurricane effects sometime in their life. In an attempt to make the risk of surge more understandable, an interactive website has been developed which combines SLOSH estimated surge with elevation and tide data and then simulates the level of surge on photographs of nearly a thousand landmarks throughout the Charleston metropolitan area. To gauge their level of threat perception, a group of residents will be surveyed both before and after they have had access to the web site to see if the visualization aids contained on the web site improved their understanding and changed their potential actions. The surveys given to the group will be presented, as well as a look at the updated web interface. The results gathered from the survey will be used by the National Weather Service in Charleston to help better convey the risks of storm surge with their public education efforts throughout the year, and potentially be used in a real-time surge event to increase the public's situational awareness.
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