Author Topic: Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?  (Read 687 times)

Offline Mr. Bill

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Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?
« on: March 22, 2019, 03:34:45 PM »
Interview with Kim Klockow-McClain.  She is a social scientist and meteorologist at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, and her work focuses on communication about weather-related risks.

NPR, 3/22/19: What Makes People Heed A Weather Warning — Or Not?

Quote
...We give people days of alert that their general region may be threatened. But people are really savvy about this. They know that even if a region in general is at risk, that doesn't necessarily mean there will be a tornado that hits their house.

So people wait until things get quite close until they make those calls. For tornadoes, they typically wait until they're under a warning and then there's just a couple of minutes.

Then all they can really do is shelter in place. ...

People are doing what we call "confirming the threat." And they do this, from what I've found, on a continuous basis. They'll be watching, and maybe they'll go get their children. But they won't necessarily take shelter until things get a little bit closer. ...

But there's also an interesting localized effect — especially for tornadoes. When people go through multiple tornadoes, they learn from those events and some of the lessons they carry away are ... folk science. The most interesting example was a community in Mississippi where everyone believed there was a waterway to their west that prevented tornadoes.

So the sheriff of the community, at the direction of the mayor, went a mile south along the waterway to watch as a storm was coming in. The mayor said, "If it crosses the waterway, let us know and then we'll shelter."

And it started to cross the waterway. The sheriff had just enough time to drive quickly back up the road to the town. I was astonished. The idea had been socialized so strongly that people acted in concert to monitor the waterway instead of just the weather forecast and radar. ...

Offline Redman

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Re: Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2019, 05:27:08 PM »
Forecasting weather is at best still an inexact science. In many areas it seems people would believe "local knowledge" rather than ahh, fact, for lack of a better word.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2019, 08:33:15 PM »
Forecasting weather is at best still an inexact science. In many areas it seems people would believe "local knowledge" rather than ahh, fact, for lack of a better word.
relevant antidote - One morning I woke to 6 inches of snow (which around here is at least 4 hours of falling, at the least!) and immediately checked the weather reports since I had family driving in from 9 hours away.  The weather sites and apps all said "clear, 20% chance of precipitation."  It was April, so a big snowfall was unusual.
When I checked those (probably 3) different sites/apps for back the previous hours, it said clear all night long.  And yet, there was 6" of snow on my deck, and it was coming down thick and slow, in a way that said at least another 4 hours.  Yeah, I have been very wary of the weather sites since then.

Another reason I am guessing a lot of people don't listen - everything on the weather news is ARMAGEDDON.  The snowstorms have names now and they are going to kill everyone they catch outside.  The hurricanes are ALWAYS a Cat 5 and headed straight for YOU until they are not.  People cannot live in that kind of crazy, so they start tuning it out.

The weather news has cried wolf too many times, and people have stopped listening.

Offline antsyaunt

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Re: Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2019, 05:44:31 AM »
relevant antidote - One morning I woke to 6 inches of snow (which around here is at least 4 hours of falling, at the least!) and immediately checked the weather reports since I had family driving in from 9 hours away.  The weather sites and apps all said "clear, 20% chance of precipitation."  It was April, so a big snowfall was unusual.
When I checked those (probably 3) different sites/apps for back the previous hours, it said clear all night long.  And yet, there was 6" of snow on my deck, and it was coming down thick and slow, in a way that said at least another 4 hours.  Yeah, I have been very wary of the weather sites since then.

Another reason I am guessing a lot of people don't listen - everything on the weather news is ARMAGEDDON.  The snowstorms have names now and they are going to kill everyone they catch outside.  The hurricanes are ALWAYS a Cat 5 and headed straight for YOU until they are not.  People cannot live in that kind of crazy, so they start tuning it out.

The weather news has cried wolf too many times, and people have stopped listening.
I agree!  I have had the same type of experiences.  I try to keep the forecast in mind when making plans to drive, but we really never know what we will see. 

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2019, 07:24:28 AM »
relevant antidote

doh - spell check!  my bad.  anecdote NOT antidote. :-[


also, a lot of weather reports seem to be national.  I live in No. Utah, and yet more than half the weather news I hear is about the big storms heading to the east coast, the gulf coast, the midwest.  I kind of tune out the weather when I hear it (I only get news from the radio and websites) since it is unlikely to effect me.  Then a snowstorm hits and I am kind of surprised.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2019, 12:57:01 PM »
Darn, I was really hoping for a relevant antidote to bad weather. ;D

Another reason I am guessing a lot of people don't listen - everything on the weather news is ARMAGEDDON.
also, a lot of weather reports seem to be national.

Yeah, I ended up making some custom weather pages and links just for me and my wife.  TV and online news media are sorta useless for finding weather info that is both local and up-to-date.

Offline Redman

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Re: Why do people not prepare when a weather warning is issued?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2019, 04:16:37 PM »
Darn, I was really hoping for a relevant antidote to bad weather. ;D

Perhaps we've grown so accustomed to how wrong the weatherguessers can be that we are no longer pay attention to them. I can usually look at the weather maps and figure it out somewhat. Learned that in elementary school, a long, long time ago. I'm almost as old as dirt BTW.