5A.2 A Difference in the Details: Assessing the Impact of Region on Tornado Threat Awareness and Knowledge

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 10:45 AM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Makenzie Krocak, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, Norman, OK; and J. T. Ripberger, H. Jenkins-Smith, and C. Silva

Even with the most advanced and accurate forecast, a large portion of the tornado response process is in the hands of the user. Part of this process relies on a person’s knowledge of the threat and previous experiences with the type of event. However, there can be discrepancies in tornado knowledge and awareness that may come from a number of sources, including differences in severe weather education in schools or the annual number of tornadoes a region experiences. One of the challenges facing the National Weather Service is connecting with local or regional populations while maintaining a consistent tornado warning system across the US. Using results from a nation-wide survey about severe weather, we analyze regional and demographic differences in awareness and knowledge about local tornado threats. These variances have implications on response time and decisions, especially if warning messages are identical despite these discrepancies. We use the same dataset to analyze differences in the way users respond or plan to respond to tornado watches and warnings based upon their differences in awareness and knowledge of tornado threats. It is critical for forecasters and communicators to understand these differences in order to produce accurate and effective warning messages.
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