5A.5 Envisioning Flood Risk: Communicating Storm Surge Forecasts Through Maps and 3D Visualizations

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 11:30 AM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Olga Wilhelmi, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and J. Boehnert, H. Lazrus, J. Gambill, R. E. Morss, J. L. Demuth, K. Dickinson, and C. Langemeier

With advances in scientific predictions, risk communication, and information and communication technologies, hazard preparedness and warning responses are changing rapidly. An NSF-funded project, Communicating Hazard Information in Modern Information Environment (CHIME), aims to reduce harm from hurricanes and other hazards, alleviate social vulnerability, and enhance resilience by improving hazardous weather risk communication and response. Focusing on the time period prior to and during landfall of a hurricane, CHIME advances our understanding of how evolving weather forecasts and warnings interact with societal vulnerabilities, information flow, and decisions as a hurricane approaches and arrives. Hurricane risk information, including forecasts of storm surge, presented in a manner that allows people to visualize and personalize this information at a local scale can help communicate potential impacts and damages. To investigate the potential of geospatial visual technologies in communicating hurricane risk with members of the public, we developed prototypes of visual risk messages. New approaches for visualizing hurricane and storm surge risk focus on space-time dimensions of a hurricane hazard, including forecast uncertainty. To investigate the effectiveness of 2D maps and 3D visualizations and to better understand how to communicate storm surge risks, we conducted focus groups in June 2017 with residents of three communities in Georgia and South Carolina that were affected by Hurricane Matthew. Participants of the focus groups included those from diverse communities in Beaufort, SC, Brunswick, GA, and Savannah, GA. In this talk, we present key findings from the focus group research and discuss recommendations for the visual communication of storm surge.
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