Storm surge and "certain death": Interviews with Texas coastal residents following Hurricane Ike

AMS Citation:
Morss, R., and M. Hayden, 2010: Storm surge and "certain death": Interviews with Texas coastal residents following Hurricane Ike. Weather, Climate, and Society, 2, 174-189, doi:10.1175/2010WCAS1041.1.
Date:2010-07-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Storm surge and "certain death": Interviews with Texas coastal residents following Hurricane Ike
Abstract: Hurricane Ike made landfall near Galveston, Texas, on 13 September 2008 as a large category 2 storm that generated significant storm surge and flooding. This article presents findings from an empirical case study of Texas coastal residents’ perceptions of hurricane risk, protective decision making, and opinions of hurricane forecasts related to Hurricane Ike. The results are based on data from interviews with 49 residents affected by Hurricane Ike, conducted approximately five weeks after landfall. While most interviewees were aware that Ike was potentially dangerous, many were surprised by how much coastal flooding the hurricane caused and the resulting damage. For many -- even long-time residents -- Ike was a learning experience. As the hurricane approached, interviewees and their households made complex, evolving preparation and evacuation decisions. Although evacuation orders were an important consideration for some interviewees, many obtained information about Ike frequently from multiple sources to evaluate their own risk and make protective decisions. Given the storm surge and damage Ike caused, a number of interviewees believed that Ike’s classification on the Saffir-Simpson scale did not adequately communicate the risk Ike posed. The "certain death" statement issued by the National Weather Service helped convince several interviewees to evacuate. However, others had strong negative opinions of the statement that may negatively influence their interpretation of and response to future warnings. As these findings indicate, empirical studies of how intended audiences obtain, interpret, and use hurricane forecasts and warnings provide valuable knowledge that can help design more effective ways to convey hurricane risk.
Subject(s):Hurricanes, Damage assessment, Flood events, Decision making, Societal impacts
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2010 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the Society's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statements, requires written permission or license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policies, available from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or amspubs@ametsoc.org. Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7k64jhb
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/2010WCAS1041.1
Author(s):
  • Rebecca Morss - NCAR/UCAR
  • Mary Hayden - NCAR/UCAR
  • Random Profile

    PROJ SCIENTIST II

    Recent & Upcoming Visitors