Household Evacuation Decision Making and the Benefits of Improved Hurricane Forecasting: Developing a Framework for Assessment
Weather and Forecasting, Vol. 25, p. 207, February 2010
13 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2012
Date Written: September 9, 2009
Hurricane warnings are the primary sources of information that enable the public to assess the risk and develop responses to threats from hurricanes. These warnings have significantly reduced the number of hurricane-related fatalities in the last several decades. Further investment in the science and implementation of the warning system is a primary mission of the National Weather Service and its partners. It is important that the weather community understand the public’s preferences and values for such investments; yet, there is little empirical information on the use of forecasts in evacuation decision making, the economic value of current forecasts, or the potential use or value for improvements in hurricane forecasts. Such information is needed to evaluate whether improved forecast provision and dissemination offer more benefit to society than alternative public investments.
Fundamental aspects of households’ perceptions of hurricane forecasts and warnings and their potential uses of and values for improved hurricane forecast information are examined. The study was designed in part to examine the viability of survey research methods for exploring evacuation decision making and for eliciting values for improved hurricane forecasts and warnings. First, aspects that affect households’ stated likelihood of evacuation are explored, because informing such decisions is one of the primary purposes of hurricane forecasts and warnings. Then, stated-choice valuation methods are used to analyze choices between potential forecast-improvement programs and the accuracy of existing forecasts. From this, the willingness to pay (WTP) for improved forecasts is derived from survey respondents.
Keywords: Hurricanes, Evacuation, Decision making, Willingness-to-pay
JEL Classification: Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation