How prepared are you? Analyzing the perceptions and preparedness of severe weather at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Payton Hintz, Dr. John Frye, and Dr. Jonathan Burkham, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 800 W Main Street, Whitewater, Wi 53190

When you think of severe weather events such as tornadoes, you normally think about Kansas or Oklahoma but over the last 30 years, Wisconsin has averaged 23 tornadoes per year. On October 1, 2019 and EF0 tornado touched down in Fort Atkinson with a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour and travelled southeast for 7.2 miles. This storm system went through Whitewater where a tornado could have easily touched down on or near campus putting the students, faculty, and staff at risk. Studies done across the country have shown that the public’s perception of severe weather is often different from reality. With high number of severe weather occurrences in Wisconsin, evidence from these studies showing students do not have the proper knowledge of severe weather, and the threat these events can pose, the purpose of this research is to investigate the knowledge and preparedness of students, faculty, and staff at UW-Whitewater. The goal of this research project is to assess the perceptions that students, faculty, and staff at UW-Whitewater have on severe weather. To assess these perceptions, I have conducted a survey on campus in the fall of 2020. Another goal of this research is to compare the participants’ perceptions with the reality of severe weather events in southern Wisconsin. My third goal of this research is to examine the university’s current preparedness for severe weather events for students, faculty, and staff while they are on university grounds. I anticipate that a large number of students will not have the knowledge of severe weather that they need to keep themselves safe. The research for this project is still ongoing, but the results gathered thus far, it is evident that students are far less concerned about severe weather events in the area than faculty and staff at UW-Whitewater.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Payton Hintz

Institution: University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

Type: Poster

Subject: Geography/Geology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5080