Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 11:30 AM
How Forecast and Warning Information Did, and Did Not, Shape Response in the April 27, 2011 Tornado Outbreak
Room 252/253 (New Orleans Convention Center )
This presentation will describe findings from a study of individuals across fourteen towns in Alabama and Mississippi who were in or near tornadoes on April 27, 2011. It will highlight specifically the information individuals received and how they made response decisions as events unfolded. For those who advocate increasing lead-time as a way to mitigate injuries and losses from tornadoes, this outbreak and the enormous resulting loss of life present what may appear to be a puzzling case inviting further study given the long lead-times and excellent real-time reporting of tornadoes as they occurred. Additionally, those involved with the Warn-on-Forecast program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others who aim to use probabilistic information in public tornado advisory products, might wonder what difference this additional information (with an even longer lead-time) might have made. Showcasing not only the information sources people consulted, but also how they evaluated that information alongside their local understandings of science, trust (or distrust) of sirens, geospatial awareness, and other background issues related to belief and personalization of warning information, this presentation will highlight how response progressed in time. Finally, the presentation will conclude with a few suggestions for how the warning enterprise could make lead-time more useful, or effective, in the future.