Trust and Information During Hurricane Ike

Open Access
Prestley, Robert William
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jon Nese, Thesis Supervisor
  • Johannes Verlinde, Honors Advisor
  • hurricane
  • risk
  • trust
  • communication
Hurricane Ike devastated the Galveston, Texas region in September 2008. The storm was well forecast and potential damage to the Galveston area was made clear through “certain death” warnings, but many people in mandatory evacuation zones decided not to evacuate anyway. This study looks at how information sources and trust affected the evacuation process during Hurricane Ike, through analysis of a survey of 4,000 Houston area residents that was administered by the Houston Chronicle directly after Ike made landfall. Information sources considered include the National Weather Service, broadcast and print media, state and local officials, and family and friends. The study revealed that the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service were the most trusted sources, while state officials and national network news were the least trusted sources. Additionally, regret affected trust in information sources but evacuation difficulty and damage to neighborhood did not. The survey also showed that participants trusted the sources they used during the storm more than sources they did not use.