Dr. Laura Myers is a disaster preparedness research professor at the University of Alabama. She has conducted extensive research into the response to tornado warnings.
Dr. Myers ran the Town Hall meeting at the National Weather Association meeting in Birmingham in 2011. One of the most interesting findings from the data that she has gathered is that people almost always seek secondary confirmation before they seek protective shelter when they hear a tornado warning. This delay can cost lives when minutes and seconds matter the most.
Jack Hayes, the Director of the National Weather Service, heard Dr. Myers speak at a critical Weather Ready Nation meeting in Norman, Oklahoma that same year. While hearing her speak, he tweeted this:
The National Weather Service’s average lead time for tornado warnings is nearly fifteen minutes now. This lead time is terrific, especially given than less than 40 years ago, the lead time was nearly zero. Fifteen minutes is an average figure. Some places get more, some get less. And not everyone gets the warning immediately.
Every second and minute between the time a warning is issued and the time that someone gets it is a wasted second or minute that can kill. So, the first step is to get the warning immediately.
MyWARN takes care of that by grabbing the warning immediately after it is issued by the National Weather Service. MyWARN’s efficient algorithm checks to see which users are in the alert and immediately passes a notification to their iPhone. They can then see the alert displayed geographically, including their current location.
With that taken care of, the next important step is to get the recipient to act immediately. Dr. Myers’ research indicates that people don’t take immediate action because they don’t want to disrupt their routine activities if they aren’t in the warning. This makes them seek confirmation. They want confirmation that the warning is real. Confirmation that they are really in the warning. Confirmation that they are in danger.
They have been desensitized by numerous warnings that don’t include them. Outdoor sirens and NOAA Weatheradio are county based, so they sound over entire affected counties in most cases. This means that people not in the warnings get alerted. When this happens time after time, people begin to question whether each warning is really for them. This makes them seek confirmation before they take action.
MyWARN gives them the confidence they need to spring into action. Once they are in their safe place, they can use other sources to gain more information.
The MyWARN app takes care of all three critical aspects:
1. Immediate notification
2. Targeted geographic warnings
Get MyWARN now from the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store
Category: MyWarn News