5A.6 Is Storm Surge Scary? The Influence of Hazard-Based, Impact-Based, and Fear-Based Messages on Responses to Hurricane Risks

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 11:45 AM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Rebecca E. Morss, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and C. L. Cuite, J. L. Demuth, and W. K. Hallman

When high-impact weather threatens, the primary goal of weather forecast and warning communication is to help populations at risk take protective actions. Many efforts to improve weather forecast and warning messages focus on conveying risk, for example, by providing information about the geophysical hazards that people may experience and/or their potential societal impacts. Another approach is to try to motivate protective action by using messages designed to induce fear. This study uses data from an online survey to explore how hazard-based, impact-based, and fear-based messaging influence people’s responses to an approaching hurricane scenario, in the context of other factors that influence protective decisions. Data were collected from 1,716 residents of coastal areas of the U.S. that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The survey included scenarios in which respondents were presented with experimentally manipulated messages about a hypothetical hurricane approaching their region. The analysis investigates how the different message modifications tested influence respondents’ evacuation intentions, overall and in areas at higher risk compared to those at lower risk. Also examined are respondents’ perceived understanding of the information, their risk perceptions and efficacy beliefs related to the scenario, and their perceptions of the information and its source. Results from the study will be presented, and potential implications of the study for hurricane risk communication will be discussed.
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