Public Perception and Response to Superstorm Sandy

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Thursday, 6 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Lindsay Rice, Univ. of South Florida, Tampa, FL; and J. M. Collins, H. Gladwin, and B. Morrow

Superstorm Sandy made landfall in Brigantine, New Jersey on October 29th, 2012 as a category 1 storm. The storm impacted the coastal regions of New Jersey and New York, especially the surrounding suburbs, including Long Island, NY. This research, which includes surveys administered by telephone, investigates the public response of residents before, during and after Superstorm Sandy. The survey consisted of questions regarding what the residents expected regarding the threat of Superstorm Sandy, whether it matched what they experienced, where they got their information and how they made their decision to evacuate or not. The results from the survey were statistically analyzed in order to answer important research questions about public perception of Sandy's impacts. A logistic regression was applied to the survey questions "Why did you evacuate?" and "Why did you not evacuate?" in order to determine predictive factors in evacuations. Other trends, such as evacuation rates among ethnicity groups, gender and age were also identified. Many times, research focuses around storm surge and not the threat of waves that accompany it. A unique aspect of this research is the analysis of the public's concern about high waves hitting the coast and their perception of wave hazards after the storm. Finally, differences in how the public perceived Superstorm Sandy before and after the storm were analyzed and may be used for future forecasting improvement research. Interdisciplinary research in this area is needed in order to better understand the public's need for appropriate warnings to ensure safety.