NWC REU 2008
May 27 - August 1



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The Response of University Students to Severe Weather Watches

Rebecca Belobraydich and Matt Biddle



While the forecasting ability of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has increased through the years, and the watches that are issued have become increasingly more accurate and precise, it is what people do with the information that is given to them that ultimately makes the difference. The best product that the SPC issues can become ineffective if the people who are supposed to use it are not aware of it or do not respond to it in an appropriate manner. For this study, students from both Northern Illinois University and the University of Oklahoma were surveyed in order to discover more about their knowledge of and response to the severe weather watches issued by the SPC. They were asked questions concerning what they knew about severe weather watches and how they learned of and responded to them. In addition, other questions regarding their demographics and some personal information, such as their age, gender, residence, and personal experience with severe weather were asked. The data that was collected through the survey is in no way complete or meant to give a complete picture of how people make decisions regarding severe weather watches. However, it will hopefully provide some insight that can be built upon in future studies.

Full Paper [PDF]