Manufactured Home Residents, Risk Perception, and Tornado Sheltering in the American Mid-South

Authors: Kevin Ash*, University of Florida, Michael Egnoto, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Stephen Strader, Villanova University, Walker Ashley, Northern Illinois University, David Roueche, Auburn University, Christina Edwards, WHNT News 19, Huntsville, AL, Kim Klockow-McClain, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Applied Geography
Keywords: vulnerability, risk perception, tornado, housing, Alabama, Mississippi
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download

Hazard vulnerability studies focus on socioeconomic and built-environment factors to understand the potential for adverse impacts. One sub-population that is often included in hazard vulnerability indices is occupants of manufactured housing. Indeed, manufactured housing is a key vulnerability factor for explanation of societal impacts associated with wind hazards such as tropical cyclones and tornadoes. Of particular interest is the extent to which occupants of manufactured housing vary in their perception of risk from tornadoes and in their ability to take effective protective action to minimize potential for harm.

This research contributes to an active area of research focused on tornado vulnerability and risk communication in the southeastern United States. In this study, we seek to understand key influences on tornado risk perception and protective action in Mississippi and Alabama, leveraging both quantitative and qualitative data from nearly 250 online questionnaires and 9 focus groups which the research team conducted in 2018. We find that a plurality (40%) of manufactured home occupants consider their manufactured home to be safer in a tornado than other homes in their immediate vicinity. Regression analyses suggest that perceptions of the quality of anchoring of units to the ground and a home’s perceived ability to provide protection from flying debris are the two most critical factors that explain perceived home tornado safety. Geographically weighted regression indicates that anchoring is more important for perceived safety near the Gulf Coast, whereas protection from flying debris is more important in northern Alabama.

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