Perceptions of Hurricane Hazards in the Mid‐Atlantic Region

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tropical cyclones, mid‐Atlantic region, hazard perception, hurricane warning graphics

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The mid‐Atlantic region of the United States is susceptible to tropical cyclone hazards. Within the past 15 years this region has experienced Hurricane Isabel in 2003, Hurricane Irene in 2011 and several tropical storms. The region was also impacted by post‐tropical Sandy in 2012. The perception of hurricane hazards among residents of the mid‐Atlantic region has not been directly researched. Furthermore, there is a lack of research on the comprehension of information from hurricane warning graphics that influences hazard perception. This research used a total of eight hypothetical scenarios (four pairs) that varied storm track and storm size to assess risk perception of hurricane hazards and characteristics. Each scenario was represented using a four‐panelled map featuring the National Hurricane Center's cone of uncertainty, a new storm surge map and a new damaging wind map created by the authors. A Qualtrics survey was used to collect responses to questions about concern for personal harm and evacuation intent. Residents of the region perceived falling trees, potential for damaging winds and the size of the storm to be the greatest threats. Scenarios depicting larger storms with track lines that moved inland were seen as more hazardous, resulting in greater concern and evacuation intent. Coastal residents showed greater concern about distance from the track for all scenarios and greater evacuation intent for larger storms compared to inland residents.

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Meteorological Applications, v. 24, issue 1, p. 120-134