Call to Action Statements in Tornado Warnings [full text]

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Hopefully social-science articles pertinent to weather safety are OK here. This is an article I published 12 years ago pertaining to recommendations on what to do when encountering a tornado in a vehicle. Based on research findings from the past couple decades, including some cited in this paper, recommendations have changed considerably since this paper was published.

 
Jan 31, 2017
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Joplin, MO & Iowa City, IA
Excellent paper! What interests me most are the regional differences in the CTAs. A certain amount of autonomy among WFOs makes sense given the different threats and varying levels of weather savvy, but we are a mobile society. If a person is used to hearing a CTA from one WFO, and hears a different one from a second WFO for the same threat, confusion is likely to cause a delay in taking action.
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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Valid points Steve - but I would surmise that roughly 0.1% of the population reads TOR warnings. And most of those are chasers :) The public never sees those CTAs so it's probably not a big deal. Most social science / severe storm researchers point out that CTAs should not be in a warning in the first place, as that's too late to start making a plan. The CTA should be before the event, with simple prompts during it.
 
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I think the CTA back then was representative of a broader policy regarding what was recommended if you were in a car during tornado warnings. Probably more the issue than what was in the CTA itself, though that was a good way to measure it. Thankfully, as a result of research and debates over the years, the recommendations have changed and are now much more nuanced than the "abandon your vehicle and seek shelter in a ditch" advice that often used to appear.
 
Jan 31, 2017
105
86
11
Joplin, MO & Iowa City, IA
Valid points Steve - but I would surmise that roughly 0.1% of the population reads TOR warnings. And most of those are chasers :) The public never sees those CTAs so it's probably not a big deal. Most social science / severe storm researchers point out that CTAs should not be in a warning in the first place, as that's too late to start making a plan. The CTA should be before the event, with simple prompts during it.
You are correct, rdale. One of the problems the weather community faces is the enormous chasm between those of us who eat, sleep and breathe weather, and the folks who just want to know if they should bring an umbrella to work. I catch myself assuming everyone else pays the same level of attention to it that I do. You are right, too, in that there's an effort to get people to have a plan beforehand, then during the event, remind them to "take your tornado precautions."
 
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