NOAA and Sea Grant's Coastal Storm Awareness Program: Projects
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News
NOTE: For a January 2014 press release announcing funding of this program's 10 projects, click here. These projects were selected via a Call for Research Proposals, which was released in October 2013 (pdf)

Projects funded by the Coastal Storm Awareness Project include:

Adolescent and Family Decision Making In Time of Disaster
Principal Investigators: Dr. Cristina Hoven / Dr. George Musa / Dr. Lawrence Amsel
Lead University: Columbia University

The major goal of this study is to create educational programs that help adults and adolescents understand the importance of family dynamics in decision making and use it to address factors that may hinder efforts to save lives in time of disaster.

An Audience Segmentation Analysis of Connecticut Coastal Residents to Support Storm Preparedness
Principal Investigators: Dr. Jennifer R. Marlon / Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz
Lead University: Yale University

Responses to a survey of over 1,000 Connecticut coastal residents assessing their coastal storm risk perception, experience, understanding and behavior will be correlated to population demographics to support the development of targeted storm-related messages and shared with local emergency managers and responders. 

Assessment of Social Media Usage During Severe Weather Events and the Development of a Twitter-based Model for Improved Communication of Storm-related Information
Principal Investigators: Dr. John F. Edwards / Dr. Somya D. Mohanty / Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick
Lead University: Mississippi State University

Building on techniques developed in Mississippi to establish better storm event communication between the National Weather Service and emergency managers with coastal residents, researchers will develop a model based on Twitter, using analysis of geo-referenced messages sent in the tri-state region before, during and after Hurricane Sandy and other extreme weather events.  Researchers will evaluate the effects of specific types of messages on human perceptions and behavior. 

Behaviorally Realistic Communications to Improve the Public's Response to and Preparedness for High Impact Storm Events
Principal Investigators: Dr. Gabrielle Wong-Parodi / Dr. Baruch Fischhoff / Dr. Ben Strauss
Lead University: Carnegie Mellon University

This study will use surveys and interviews with New York- New Jersey coastal residents about their beliefs and behavior regarding high-impact storm events to develop a personalized online decision-making tool. Climate Central’s Surging Seas model will be adapted to include strategies that can be used to improve citizen understanding, preparedness and response to extreme weather.

Best Practices in Coastal Storm Risk Communication
Principal Investigators: Dr. Cara Cuite / Dr. Karen O’Neill / Dr. William Hallman / Dr. David Robinson / Dr. Steven Decker / Dr. Christopher Obropta
Lead University: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

To assist emergency managers and other communicators deliver the most effective messages possible, this study will survey coastal residents to empirically test the effectiveness of a range of message variables including personalization, storm probability formats and social media messaging.  This information will be the basis for a best practices guide that will serve as an important tool for emergency managers.

Evaluating Evacuation Decision-Making Processes Among Residents of Long Beach, NY before Superstorm Sandy: Lessons for the Role of Authority and Language in Storm Warnings
Principal Investigators: Dr. E. Christa Farmer / Dr. Mary Anne Trasciatti/ Dr. Elisabeth J. Ploran
Lead University: Hofstra University

This research team will analyze interviews with residents of ethnically diverse Long Beach, NY, many of whom ignored evacuation warnings about Hurricane Sandy, looking at both language barriers and cultural attitudes in affecting understanding and acceptance of risk information. The goal is to create improved guidelines for the specific language used by government officials and weather authorities to relay coastal storm information, risk assessment, and evacuation recommendations.

Forecasting Evacuation Behaviors of Coastal Communities in Response to Storm Hazard Information
Principal Investigators: Dr. Ricardo A. Daziano / Dr. Linda K. Nozick / Dr. Philip L. Liu / Dr. Jonathon P. Schuldt
Lead University: Cornell University

Researchers will use focus groups and interviews to conduct time-dependent discrete choice experiments, where subjects will self-report the likelihood of evacuation for each of a series of hypothetical storms. The team will explore the use of smartphone apps to collect data about stated evacuation preferences and evaluate the attitudes and response to new sources of information (Twitter and other social media) using integrated sociological theories.

Measuring Public Responses to a Surge of Information: How Individuals Understand, React, and Respond to Storm Surge Media Messages
Principal Investigators: Dr. Clifford W. Scherer / Dr. Laura N. Rickard
Lead University: Cornell University

To better understand how coastal residents perceive hurricane-related and storm surge-related risk, this research team will work with tri-state broadcasters, as well as the National Hurricane Center and local National Weather Service offices to develop hurricane forecasts that utilize a new storm surge inundation map. A televised version of the experimental forecast will be tested in focus groups from tri-state coastal communities to help practitioners design the best methods for conveying storm-related risk visually.

They Had the Facts, Why Didn't They Act?: Understanding and Improving Public Response to NWS Coastal Flooding Forecasts
Principal Investigators: Rachel Hogan Carr / Dr. Burrell Montz / Gary Szatkowski / Lisa Auermuller / Dr. Susan Frankel / Elizabeth Goldman
Lead University/Institution: Nurture/Nature Center

This research team will create briefing documents which combine both graphical information and narrative explanations about storm risk that will improve understanding by coastal residents and emergency management officials of the intensity and possible outcomes of an impending coastal storm, increasing the likelihood of people evacuating or taking other appropriate warning response actions.

Understanding Responses to Storm Warnings: Learning from Those Who “Rode Out” Hurricane Sandy
Principal Investigator: Dr. Sharon D. Moran / Co-Principal Investigator: William Peace, Syracuse University
Lead University: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

By working with key stakeholders including those with disabilities, this research team will conduct focus groups and surveys to document the perceptions of those who could not or would not evacuate during Hurricane Sandy. The resultant data will help build several training modules tailored for CT, NY and NJ residents to be pilot tested by coastal managers.

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