The authors felt that this project provided an outstanding opportunity to focus attention on some of the hazardous conditions that are warned for in this area. Questions were created to get people thinking about these various events, and they were worded in an educational way by providing useful information in the answer choices.
One very important watch or warning situation that can occur in the Juneau area is for tsunamis. The question asked, "Which statements are true about tsunami safety?" An encouraging 80% of the respondents chose the answer, "NOAA Weather Radio would broadcast tsunami warnings, along with instructions on what action, if any, you should take." Since the questionnaire was done by the National Weather Service, it is not surprising that many people chose this answer as true. Arguably the most important answer choice stated, "If you feel a strong earthquake, one in which you have difficulty standing or which lasts longer than 30 seconds, you should leave low-lying coastal areas immediately." This answer was chosen by 63% of the respondents. Another true statement, "A lake, bay or reservoir can be subject to a tsunami," was chosen by only 36%. The only false answer that was given said, "A tsunami is a single tidal wave created by a strong underwater earthquake." Unfortunately, 65% of the respondents thought this answer was true. A tsunami is actually a series of waves, but this was a fairly difficult question. The results from this question indicate that there is a need for greater education in Juneau about tsunamis. In fact, three respondents wrote comments such as, "Here in Juneau, we hardly know anything about tsunamis."
Another topic the authors wanted to touch on was thunderstorms. Because they are fairly uncommon in this
forecast area (normally, only a few small thunderstorms per year), we were concerned that residents may not
be as well-versed in lightning safety as those who live where thunderstorms occur more frequently. The question
The final weather hazard chosen to be addressed was wind chill. The question asked, "On a windy day, the forecast says there will be a wind chill of -45. A thermometer outside and exposed to the wind would read," and the answer choices provided were "-45," "warmer than -45," or "colder than -45." A comfortable majority of the respondents chose the correct answer (73%), but this still leaves 27% who missed it. During the wintertime in Juneau, forecasters often headline our forecasts with statements like, "Wind chills to -45 tonight." Comments received concerning this question indicate that further public education about wind chills may make the headlines we typically use during the winter season more meaningful. One person wrote, "Wind chill factor hype irritates me. Perhaps for a few months next winter, its meaning could be explained when it's quoted."