How Forecasters Decide to Warn: Insights on Tornado Risk Communication from the Southeast U.S.

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Tornados can have devastating consequences, and being able to warn the public about tornadic risk can save lives. Social scientists are prolific in their recommendations on how to "better warn" the public about tornadoes, but they rarely work in partnership with operational forecasters. This begs the question of how applicable social scientists’ recommendations are to the “real world.”  The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just funded new research on how forecasters decide to warn about tornadoes. Associate Professor Brooke Liu and Assistant Professor Anita Atwell Seate will lead a two-year project, which includes interviews with forecasters, ethnographic observation, and a longitudinal survey. More about NOAA’s research portfolio on tornadoes in the Southeast U.S. is here.


The project involves 20 telephone interviews with NOAA forecasters, two months of ethnographic observations at two National Weather Service offices in the Southeast U.S., a baseline cross-sectional survey, and a six-month longitudinal survey.


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