Tornado folk science in Alabama and Mississippi in the 27 April 2011 tornado outbreak
In this paper, we collect, categorize, and discuss the existence of numerous ways of knowing about tornado threat that largely differ from the perspective taken by the meteorological community. These alternate ways of knowing became apparent during interviews with survivors of the 27 April 2011 tornado outbreak in the US southeast, particularly in Alabama and Mississippi. Phenomena discussed herein include perceptions of safety near waterways, vulnerability near a specific highway with a recently modified landscape, the protective nature of hills, relative optimism about home sites, and local observational weather knowledge. Theoretical explanations offered for these observed phenomena include ideas from risk perception and place attachment literatures.
KeywordsTornadoes Risk perception Folk science Place attachment Alabama Mississippi
- Bernard, H. R. (1988). Research methods in cultural anthropology. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Braun, V., & Clark, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. Google Scholar
- Brooks, H. E. (2013). F2 tornado return period. http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/users/brooks/public_html/f2return.gif. Accessed 17 June, 2013.
- Buttimer, A. (1993). Geography and the human spirit. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Census. (2010). Smithville, Mississippi. Census Viewer. http://censusviewer.com/city/MS/Smithville. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Cuba, L., & Hummon, D. L. (1993). A place to call home: Identification with dwelling, community, and region. The Sociological Quarterly, 34(1), 111–131.Google Scholar
- Doswell, C. A. III, Carbin, G. W., & Brooks, H. E. (2012). The tornadoes of spring 2011 in the USA: An historical perspective. Weather, 67(4), 88–94.Google Scholar
- Douglas, M., & Wildavsky, A. (1982). Risk and culture: An essay on the selection of technological and environmental dangers. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Gigerenzer, G., & Gaissmaier, W. (2011). Heuristic decision making. Annual Review of Psychology, 62(1), 451–482.Google Scholar
- Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2007). Prospection: Experiencing the future. Science, 317(5843), 1351–1354.Google Scholar
- Giuliani, M. V. (2003). Theory of Attachment and Place Attachment. In M. Bonnes, T. Lee, & M. Bonaiuto (Eds.), Psychological theories for environmental issues (pp. 137–170). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Grazulis, T. (2013). Myths and common misconceptions about tornadoes. www.tornadoproject.com/safety/myths.htm. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Heckathorn, D. (2002). Respondent-driven sampling II: Deriving valid estimates from chain-referral samples of hidden populations. Social Problems, 49(1), 11–34.Google Scholar
- Hoekstra, S., Klockow, K., Riley, R., Brotzge, J., Brooks, H., & Erickson, S. (2011). A preliminary look at the social perspective of Warn-on-Forecast: Preferred tornado warning lead time and the general public’s perceptions of weather risks. Weather, Climate, and Society, 3(2), 128–140.Google Scholar
- Kasperson, J. X., & Kasperson, R. E. (2005). The social contours of risk. Volume I: Publics: Risk communication and the social amplification of risk. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Keil, F. C. (2003). Folkscience: Coarse interpretations of a complex reality. TRENDS in Cognitive Science, 7(8), 368–373.Google Scholar
- Klockow, K. E. (2012). Investigation of individuals’ spatial awareness and estimation of uncertainty relating to response during the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. University of Colorado National Hazards Center Grant Program.Google Scholar
- Klockow, K. E., & McPherson, R. A. (2014). Tornado risk perception in space and time. In revision: Weather, Climate, and Society.Google Scholar
- Lewicka, M. (2011). Place attachment: How far have we come in the last 40 years? Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31(3), 207–230.Google Scholar
- Lord, C., Ross, L., & Lepper, M. (1979). Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(11), 2098–2109.Google Scholar
- Masuda, J. R., & Garvin, T. (2006). Place, culture, and the social amplification of risk. Risk Analysis, 26(2), 437–454.Google Scholar
- National Weather Service. (2011a). Service assessment: The Historic tornadoes of April 2011. Silver Spring: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce.Google Scholar
- National Weather Service. (2011b). Smithville, MS EF-5 tornado. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/meg/?n=apr2011toroutbreaksmithville. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- National Weather Service. (2011c). Cordova (Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Fayette, Walker and Blount Counties) EF-4 Tornado April 27, 2011. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/?n=event_04272011cordova. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- National Weather Service. (2011d). Tuscaloosa-birmingham EF-4 tornado April 27, 2011. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/?n=event_04272011tuscbirm. Accessed 17 June 2013.
- NOAA/NCDC. (2006). Tornado myths, facts, and safety. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadosafety.html. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Relph, E. (1976). Place and placelessness. London: Pion.Google Scholar
- Reynolds, B., & Seeger, M. (2012). Crisis and emergency risk communication (2012 edn.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
- Rozenblit, L., & Keil, F. (2002). The misunderstood limits of folk science: An illusion of explanatory depth. Cognitive Science, 26(5), 521–562.Google Scholar
- Senkbeil, J. C., Rockman, M. S., & Mason, J. B. (2012). Shelter seeking plans of Tuscaloosa residents for a future tornado event. Weather, Climate, and Society, 4(3), 159–171.Google Scholar
- Simmons, K. M., & Sutter, D. (2012). The 2011 tornadoes and the future of tornado research. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93(7), 959–961.Google Scholar
- Stewart, A. E. (2010). Minding the weather. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 90(12), 1833–1841.Google Scholar
- Tuan, Y.-F. (1974). Topophilia: A study of environmental perception, attitudes, and values. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Tuan, Y.-F. (1975). Place: An experiential perspective. Geographical Review, 65(2), 151–165.Google Scholar
- Tuan, Y.-F. (1977). Space and place: The perspective of experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Weinstein, N. D. (1980). Unrealistic optimism about future life events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(1), 806–820.Google Scholar
- Wikipedia. (2013). Tornado myths. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado_myths. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Williams, D. R., & Stewart, S. I. (1998). Sense of place: An elusive concept that is finding a home in ecosystem management. Journal of Forestry, 96(5), 18–23.Google Scholar