16B.8 Providing Coherent Tornado Safety Instruction in Hurricane Situations

Friday, 20 April 2018: 12:45 PM
Masters ABCD (Sawgrass Marriott)
David Sharp, NOAA/National Weather Service, Melbourne, FL; and J. Smith, L. Rodio, W. Ulrich, and S. Spratt

During landfalling hurricane situations, emergency plans as implemented within communities typically focus on protecting against high wind, storm surge, and flooding from heavy rain. Tornadoes, when they occur, can complicate matters by hindering the effective implementation of those plans. Tornado warnings can add anxiety to already stressful hurricane situations, while increasing the amount of safety information affected populations are asked to consider. Confusion can arise when the prescribed safety information is at odds with that already being provided for the overarching hurricane event. Consequently, tornado warnings issued within coincident hurricane watches or warnings often do not evoke the desired public response that they might otherwise during tornado-only events. Simplified tornado calls-to-action must be rendered relative to the phase of the hurricane event. That is, appropriate tornado safety instruction is relative according to the evacuation and preparedness phase, the in-shelter phase, or initial response phase. This paper will discuss the communications problem from the social science perspective. Initial qualitative results will be presented from focus group and survey interactions among the National Weather Service core partnership within East Central Florida and from the local public. Community hurricane emergency plans will be scrutinized for tornado contingencies and default calls-to-action within National Weather Service statement/warning creation software will be challenged. Using recent experiences from Hurricane Matthew (2016) and Hurricane Irma (2017), recommendations will be offered to harmonize public safety instruction within tornado warnings issued during hurricanes.
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