Dreaming of a jog around the old gym

By: Josh Eachus

Thomas Friedman’s 10th “flattener” from his 2005 book, “The World is Flat” is simply “the steroids.” From the world-wide web to workflow software to the rapid spread of information, the steroids referred to all of the digital advances that would come in a rapidly developing technological landscape. 12 years later, the visionary book is no longer a modern take on how the digital world will evolve. We’ve made it there, for better and for worse. Social media has brought an injection of “steroids” to digital information and workflow, but not without side-effects.

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What recent research tells us about evacuation decisions during Hurricane Matthew

By: Josh Eachus

A common question in meteorology circles after Hurricane Matthew: why didn’t they evacuate? We can’t just say storm surge will be 7-11 feet. We can’t just say know your evacuation zone. Even combining the two, while a step in the right direction, isn’t enough. Riad et. al (1999) said that evacuation can be understood as the result of three basic social psychological processes: (a) risk perception, (b) social influence, and (c) access to resources. But at some point, it all becomes too much! Say, what? It sounds like paralysis by analysis. But, in striving for the zero fatality outcomes, we continue to weave fundamental concepts of risk perception and information processing into weather messaging.

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Local Perspective: Hurricane Matthew

 

By: Minh Phan

“I’m so ridiculously prepared everyone would wanna be at my house. If it gets to cat 3 I’m out. Cat 2 is a breeze.”

Others felt the coverage on Matthew was dramatic and overhyped.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be that bad. Georgia has a reputation of panicking in weather situations.”

Those who expressed their intent to evacuate did so out of extra precaution, playing it safe and leaving in case the storm delivered a heavy blow to the region.

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You want me to go inside for a one in a million chance?

By: Josh Eachus

For meteorologists, lightning is recognized as the thunderstorm hazard with perhaps a greater probability of death than any other. According to the National Weather Service Storm Data, from 1984 – 2013, the United States averaged 49 reported lightning fatalities per year. Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability.

For the comparatively small number of people lightning directly affects compared to hurricanes and tornadoes, we can’t seem to get the deadly numbers down. This is not about low predictability, advancing science or improving technology. This is about risk perception and the simple fact that humans have a tendency to ignore small probabilities[1].  

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