Jason C. Senkbeil  Jake Reed 




Senkbeil, Jason C.; Ellis, Kelsey N.; Reed, Jacob R. 2019. “The Influence of Tornado Activity, Impact, Memory, and Sentiment on Tornado Perception Accuracy among College Students.” Atmosphere 10, no. 12: 732.

Publication URL



A survey consisting of open-ended and closed responses was administered at three universities in the eastern USA. The home counties of survey participants represented climatological tornado risks spanning from rarely impacted to frequently impacted. The first objective of this research was to classify climatological tornado risk for each county so that analyses of tornado perception accuracy could be evaluated. Perception accuracy was defined as the difference between what each participant perceived minus what actually happened. A manual classification scheme was created that uses the Storm Prediction Center’s Convective Outlook framework as county climatological risk categories. Participants from high-risk counties statistically significantly overestimated the numbers of violent tornadoes compared to participants from every risk category but moderate. Furthermore, participants from high-risk counties had significantly greater tornado impacts, thus validating the classification of high-risk. Participants from high, moderate, and slight-risk counties significantly overestimated the number of strong tornadoes compared to participants from enhanced-risk counties. There appeared to be no relationships between tornado memory and tornado sentiment with tornado perception accuracy. Possible explanations for the overestimation of the numbers of violent tornadoes in high-risk counties are discussed.