92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 11:30 AM
Assessing the Publics' Need for Tropical Cyclone and Extratropical Cyclone Storm Surge Warning Information
Room 353 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Jeffrey K. Lazo, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and B. H. Morrow, J. R. Rhome, and J. Feyen

Storm surge is defined as an abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a tropical cyclone (TC) or extratropical cyclone (ET). The National Weather Service (NWS) currently issues a wide array of text and graphical products to communicate the forecasted conditions associated with storm surge. While many people only associate storm surge with tropical cyclones, storm surge also occurs from extratropical cyclones. Assessment of needs for storm surge communication must be comprehensive and address storm surge regardless of the meteorological cause(s). We report here on a survey implemented with members of the general public across the ET and TC vulnerable coastal areas (Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic Coastal areas) to assess people's experience, perceptions, and understanding of storm surge and preferences for storm surge information. Specifically the research has two objectives:

1. To explore and assess the public's awareness and understanding, or lack thereof, concerning storm surge and currently available storm surge information, regardless of the meteorological cause. I.e., “Do they know what storm surge is?”

2. To assess whether the National Weather Service should explore 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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