4.1 Perceptions of Hurricane Hazards in the Mid-Atlantic

Friday, 12 June 2015: 10:30 AM
303 (Raleigh Convention Center)
Michelle E. Saunders, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

The Mid-Atlantic region of the United States is susceptible to many tropical cyclone hazards such as storm surge, damaging winds, and flooding from heavy rainfall. Within the past ten years this region has experienced hurricanes Isabel in 2003 and Irene in 2011, as well as several tropical storms. This region was also influenced by post-tropical Sandy in 2012. The perception of hurricane hazards among residents of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States is currently unknown as there is a lack of research on the comprehension of information from warning graphics. This research uses a total of 8 hypothetical scenarios (4 pairs) that vary each hurricane's track and size to assess hurricane hazard risk perception. Each scenario is represented using a three-paneled map featuring the NHC's Cone of Uncertainty, a new storm surge map, and a new damaging wind map created by the authors. A Qualtrics survey created and administered via email, asked Mid-Atlantic residents key questions about their concern for personal harm and evacuation plans, as well as having residents identify which part of the hurricane is the most dangerous using a heat mapping tool. Preliminary results found that residents of this region perceive the size of the storm and damaging winds to be the greatest threats. Each storm track considerably influences the risk perception of residents.
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