J1.4 Creation and Communication of Hurricane Risk Information

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 4:15 PM
Room 18D (Austin Convention Center)
Julie L. Demuth, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and B. H. Morrow, R. E. Morss, and J. K. Lazo

Hurricanes pose significant physical, emotional, and financial risks to the people they threaten. One way to reduce risks and promote more effective public decision-making is by evaluating the process through which hurricane information is created and communicated. This jointly funded NSF and NOAA project advances understanding of hurricane warning system communication by studying four key actors in the Miami area: National Weather Service (NWS) National Hurricane Center forecasters, NWS Weather Forecast Office forecasters, emergency managers, and radio and television media. Based on data from task-activity observations of the forecasters and semi-structured interviews with all groups, we examined the groups' roles, goals, and interactions, and identify strengths and challenges in how they communicate with each other and with the public. We found that, together, these groups succeed in partnering with each other to make information about approaching hurricane threats widely available. Yet NWS forecasters sometimes find that the information they provide is not used as they intended; media personnel want streamlined information from NWS and emergency managers that emphasizes the timing of hazards and the recommended response and protective actions; and emergency managers need forecast uncertainty information that can help them plan for different scenarios. This presentation will discuss these and other findings in greater depth, followed by recommendations for improving how these groups interact with each other and how they generate and convey information, ultimately contributing to the broader goal of increasing societal resilience to hurricanes and related weather hazards.
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