J10.4 Assessing the Publics' Need For Storm Surge Warning Information

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 11:45 AM
618-620 (Washington State Convention Center)
Jeffrey K. Lazo, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and B. H. Morrow, J. Rhome, and J. Feyen

The National Weather Service issues a wide array of text and graphical products to communicate the forecasted conditions associated with storm surge (defined an abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a tropical or extratropical cyclone). While many people only associate storm surge with tropical cyclones (TC), storm surge also occurs from extratropical cyclones (ET). The serious threat to life and property posed by storm surge suggests that this threat be specifically communicated to members of the public so that people can make better proactive and protective decisions. We report on research using focus groups and a recent survey exploring and assessing the public's awareness and understanding, or lack thereof, concerning storm surge and currently available storm surge information – initially with respect to tropical cyclones. We also report on planned research on the public understanding and communication of warnings with respect to extratropical cyclones. This work is designed in part to assess whether the National Weather Service should consider developing new storm surge informational approaches to improve the communication and decision-making with respect to extratropical and tropical cyclone storm surge risk.
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