The Need

When a hurricane threatens, what do people really need to know? They don’t actually need to know what the exact track will be, what the category of the storm will be, or even how many inches of rain will fall.

What they really need to know are answers to questions like:

  • Is it safe to stay in my house?
  • How high will the wind and water be at my house? When will it arrive?
  • How much damage will my house experience?
  • How long will the power be out?
  • When should I put up my storm shutters?

While the weather forecast enterprise has dramatically increased its capabilities to provide accurate forecasts of weather hazards at greater lead times and finer scales, a growing body of research demonstrates that people have a difficult time understanding what the impacts of those hazards will be. Even worse, people find it difficult to impossible to conceive of what the impact means for their unique situation. Very few people have the technical background to assess their vulnerability and interpret probabilistic forecasts of hazards to calculate the risks of specific consequences. The HurricaneRiskCalculator® web app is being created to fill these gaps.

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