General Public's Weather Information Seeking and Decision Making behavior during Tornado outbreaks in Oklahoma City Metroplex in May 2013

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 9:15 AM
Room C107 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Chen Ling, University of Akron, Akron, OH; and M. Madison, J. Adams, K. Warren, M. Mudd, K. G. Wolfinbarger, E. M. Argyle, and L. P. Rothfusz
Manuscript (119.1 kB)

Handout (603.9 kB)

Severe weather impacts the lives of many people. Today's technology allows weather information to be distributed to the general public in many ways. However, it is not clear how people obtain information regarding severe weather, and how they make decisions based on the information. This study surveyed people in the Oklahoma City metroplex about their weather information–seeking and decision-making behaviors during the May 2013 tornado outbreaks. The preliminary results based on 124 survey responses show that people used and trusted television news most to obtain the severe weather information, followed by siren, weather radio, radio, looking at the sky, and smart device. Behavior during the May 31 storm was different than that reported for the May 20 event. On the positive side, more people sought shelter during the May 31 storm. However, the number of people attempting to leave the area in a vehicle also increased. These behavior patterns demonstrate the strong influence of the weather information broadcasted via television news on general public's behavior.