Monday, May 6, 2019

74% of Americans Think Weather is Growing More Severe

Nearly three out of four Americans surveyed think the weather is growing increasingly severe, yet two in five are ill prepared for a severe storm, according to an exclusive study fielded by The Weather Company, in partnership with Morning Consult. During National Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 5-11), The Weather Company released its 2019 hurricane forecast for the Atlantic and Tropics, in addition to data on preparedness and the correlation between severe weather and emotions.

The Weather Company predicts 14 named storms, with the potential for seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes in 2019 -- a slight decrease in activity when compared to the previous season. The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30.

"El Niño conditions are expected to continue throughout the North Atlantic hurricane season, which will enable an atmospheric pattern that is not conducive for increased tropical development," said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for The Weather Company. "Alternatively, the North Atlantic Ocean temperatures are warmer-than-normal, which tends to produce above normal activity levels. The combination of El Niño conditions and warm Atlantic waters suggest a near-normal season that is similar to last year. Much like the 2017 weather pattern that produced Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, there is still the potential for intense tropical cyclones in 2019. Our teams are focused on providing the data and insights people need to prepare."

Nearly 40 percent of Americans have experienced severe weather that damaged their homes or made them evacuate, with one in five happening in the last five years. While weather is universal, how people react to it can be very personal.

According to the study:
  • Less than half of Americans are prepared for an emergency.
  • 42% of Americans surveyed don't have an evacuation plan in the event of severe weather. 19% have a family meet-up plan.
  • Americans are most likely to heed local government's warning if told to evacuate (50% very likely), more so than family (44%) or close friends (34%).
  • When Americans choose not to evacuate, 23% say the main reason they would stay is because they don't believe evacuation would be necessary and that they could ride out the storm. Others would stay home to care for family members (19%) or pets (20%).  31% of respondents say they would always evacuate.
  • About 15% of respondents have a preparedness kit packed. About half of respondents do not have a preparedness kit, but say they have essential items in mind if an emergency arises.
Americans turn to their devices when storms are looming.
  • 62% Americans watch TV or streaming services during a storm, with Gen X at 67%, and Boomers at 59%.
  • About half of Americans spend their time browsing the Internet during a storm.
Local TV news still a trusted source for weather updates:
  • Local broadcast TV is still a go-to source among older viewers: 61% of Boomers rely on traditional TV for updates, outpacing 39% of Millennials and 31% of Gen Z respondents who turn to local broadcast for their weather news.
  • 60% of Millennials and 61% of Gen X use smartphone apps for weather information, along with 57% of Boomers and 50% of Gen Z.
  • More than half of respondents check their phones three or more times per day for timely updates during severe weather events.

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