Uncertainty in Hurricane Forecasts and Communication: A Survey on the Perspective of Operational Meteorologists’
James Hyde, North Dakota State University's Department of Emergency Management, Fargo, ND
Yue "Gurt" Ge, North Dakota State University's Department of Emergency Management
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Abstract
Hurricanes continue to threaten the coastlines of the United States and the people who live along them. Operational meteorologists have an important role as communicators in these situations. Meteorologists in both the private and public sector are learning more every year how pivotal their role is in an integrated warning system.  Knowing how they view, use, and communicate data with their constituents with an oncoming hurricane is an important part in emergency preparedness and response with the public. This study is based on a web survey of operational meteorologists whose occupation involves disseminating information for hurricane threats. The survey was done in cooperation between the National Weather Association (NWA), and North Dakota State University’s Department of Emergency Management, and funded by the National Science Foundation. The survey collected data from 255 operational meteorologists on their views of different aspects of forecast uncertainty and communication during times of an oncoming hurricane threat.

Specifically, the study focuses on four key areas: common displays of uncertainty in hurricane track, effectiveness of various dissemination platforms (e.g., television, web, and social media), message characteristics, and trust of numerical weather prediction. The study provides the first ever introspective look at how occupational meteorologists as a whole perceive their role in an integrated warning system in conjunction with local officials, such as emergency managers, and manage in the most effective way to turn the meteorology of hurricanes and hurricane forecasting into service for a public at risk.