James Cook University - The Psychology of Storm Surges: Are you ready?

Storm surges have the potential to bring widespread damage and yet these natural disasters are often underestimated or discounted in the face of a cyclone. Current research is examining how storm surges are perceived in at risk communities so that effective communication about these events can be improved, before a significant one occurs.

  • Storm surges cause more fatalities globally than any other factor associated with a cyclone
  • Storm surges do not appear to be perceived as threatening in North Queensland communities or likely to cause significant damages
  • Residents living in vulnerable areas appear to be knowledgeable about how to plan and prepare for a cyclone but it is unclear if the same can be said about storm surges.
  • Research is needed to understand how individuals perceive storm surges so that effective risk communication can be developed

A James Cook University researcher is encouraging coastal residents to participate in a study into storm surge perceptions. According to PhD psychology student Kristy Livock, storm surges represent a potential catastrophic threat and it is important to understand how these natural disasters are perceived in the community. Whilst vulnerable communities generally are aware of the dangers and have plans in place for cyclones, the same cannot always be said about storm surges. The results of the research could be used to develop more effective communication strategies. Participation is as simple as filling out the following questionnaire: www.facebook.com/PhDStormSurge

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