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National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®

Superstorm Sandy Evacuation Study in Long Beach, NY

Hofstra professors Dr. E. Christa Farmer (Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability), Dr. Mary Anne Trasciatti (Department of Rhetoric) and Dr. Elisabeth Ploran (Department of Psychology) are working on an interdisciplinary project analyzing how residents of Long Beach, NY made decisions about evacuating ahead of Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged coastal areas of Long Island in October 2012.

The project, “Evaluating Evacuation Decision-Making Processes Among Residents of Long Beach, NY before Superstorm Sandy: Lessons for the Role of Authority and Language in Storm Warnings”, is supported by a $121,286 grant from the Connecticut Sea Grant project (which is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), as well as the National Center for Suburban Studies.

The project includes conducting interviews with Long Beach residents, many of whom ignored warnings to evacuate for Superstorm Sandy, to determine the messaging and sources of information that carried the most weight in their decision-making. The research team is also examining language and cultural barriers that may have affected residents’ understanding and acceptance of risk information.

The goal is to develop better ways for government officials and weather authorities to relay storm and evacuation warnings for maximum impact.

The research will build in part on an on-going oral history project about Superstorm Sandy and Long Beach undertaken by Dr. Trasciatti, a long-time Long Beach resident herself, in the winter of 2012.