Data from field surveys are discussed that measured the evolution of coastal residents' risk perceptions and preparation plans as two hurricanes, Isaac and Sandy, approached the United States during the 2012 hurricane season. Surveyed residents overestimated the probability that their homes would be affected by hurricane-force winds, but then they displayed limited degrees of concern over this prospect. These residents also underestimated the threat posed by flooding, including people living adjacent to water areas. The surveys revealed that residents nevertheless had a higher awareness of a storm's maximum winds rather than flood potential. Specifically, when respondents were asked to report what they believed Isaac's and Sandy's maximum winds and predicted maximum storm surges to be, respondents were much better at the former than the latter. What was particularly notable was that the tendency to underestimate the relative threat posed by water in Isaac and Sandy even among those for whom the threat should have been most salient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science