Motivators and Important Factors Influencing Tornado Decisions in Oklahoma During May 2013

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner
Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 11:15 AM
226AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Julia K. Ross, National Weather Center Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Norman, OK; and D. LaDue and J. Correia Jr.
Manuscript (1.1 MB)

Three deadly tornado events occurred in central Oklahoma within a two week time span in May 2013. Unusually high numbers of motorists clogged multiple interstates upwards of 60 miles away from the main storms on 31 May, increasing their vulnerability. In order to improve communication and decrease individuals' vulnerability, 77 surveys were collected about actions taken, and motivation for those actions. People were more likely to drive away if they had a household income of less than $30,000 or $70,000 $100,000, were younger (20-39 years old), and had some higher education. People were more likely to stay home if they had past direct experience with tornadoes. Fear was commonly expressed (44%) which manifested as either a sense of the self or home being vulnerable. Unique to this study: 33% of respondents did not feel safe at home. Of the 77 surveys collected, 27 (35%) respondents had never heard they could strengthen their home to better withstand tornadic winds. The fear shown during these events was strong, and drove unusual actions. Was this a unique reaction to having three nearby violent tornadic events within a two week period, or a new phenomenon for Oklahomans or others around the country?