Public perception of and response to severe weather warnings in Nova Scotia, Canada



Hurricane Juan, which struck Atlantic Canada on 29 September, 2003, revealed the full extent of public vulnerability to severe weather events in Nova Scotia. In this study, 130 people were interviewed via a systematic sampling technique to examine their perception of severe weather warnings, and to determine what actions (if any) they are most likely to take when a warning has been posted. It was found that different target groups (e.g. the elderly, students) use different modes of media to obtain their severe weather information. It is recommended that forecast centres tailor their advisories for specific media sources so as best to reach various target groups. It was also found that respondents are generally satisfied with the weather warnings they receive, but there is a lack of awareness of the existence and extent of public vulnerability in Nova Scotia. The development of a comprehensive education campaign which will outline various facets of social vulnerability, while also offering recommendations on how best to lower existing social vulnerability, is critical. Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society