Communicating Hurricane Risk With Virtual Reality: A Student Perspective

Authors: Angela Rienzo*, , Jase Bernhardt, Hofstra University, Ivan Bermejo, Hofstra University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Climate, Hazards, Risk, Tropical Cyclones, Disaster, Vulnerability
Session Type: Interactive Short Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Hurricanes and tropical storms have always posed a serious threat to the United States, but even as satellite images and forecast models improve, one of the biggest threats to the safety of the public is not being able to effectively communicate storm forecasts and warnings to the public in a way that they can fully comprehend the severity of the situation, and then use that information to evaluate their own risk and make potentially lifesaving decisions. This has been a source of numerous studies, all focused on how to better improve the communication between forecasters and viewers in order to prevent as much damage and loss of life as possible. We believe that the unique sensory abilities of virtual reality could help the public develop a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the dangers associated with hurricanes and the risks that they pose to everyone individually. In the virtual reality simulation, participants are immersed into a scenario in which a hurricane is battering a neighborhood with damaging winds, torrential rain, and coastal flooding. They get to experience first hand just how disastrous these normally mild forces can be, which is much more comprehensible for pubic viewers than static text or forecast maps, which will help them make more informed decisions based on their own risk, including what preparations they need to take in order to minimize damage and ensure their safety.

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