Tornado Warnings at Night Who Gets the Message
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Tornado Warnings at Night Who Gets the Message

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  • Journal Title:
    Weather, Climate, and Society
  • Description:
    Nocturnal tornadoes are a public health threat, over twice as likely to have fatalities as tornadoes during the day. While tornado warning receipt is an important factor in models of individual behavioral response, receipt of warnings at night has not been studied in the literature to date. This study uses survey data from a random sample of Tennessee residents (N = 1804) who were randomly assigned to day or night versions of a near-identical survey instrument. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses compare chance of warning receipt, warning sources, and predictors of warning receipt for day versus night scenarios of a tornadic event. Over 80% of participants asked about a daytime tornado said there was a high/very high chance of receiving the warning, compared to fewer than 50% of participants asked about a nighttime event. Whereas demographic and cognitive factors helped predict tornado warning receipt during the day, cognitive and geographic factors were salient for the night. Perceived county risk and prior experience with a tornado were positively associated with chance of nighttime receipt, while belief that luck is an important factor in surviving a tornado and living in east (compared to west) Tennessee were negatively associated. Future research should consider partnering with the National Weather Service, emergency managers, and local media to increase the likelihood that people will receive tornado warnings at night and to better understand the role that cognitive factors and particular beliefs play in individual efforts to ensure that warnings are received.
  • Source:
    Weather, Climate, and Society, 10(3), 561-568
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