Information and Natural Disaster Adaptation
100 tornadoes in 24 hours? The NY Times reports that Oklahoma was repeatedly shocked over the weekend. To quote the article; " Days ahead of the deadly winds there was an unusual warning that alerted residents across at least five states to the threat of “extremely dangerous” and “catastrophic” weather.
The predictions held, it seems. But the people listened. “I really think people took the warnings and they took them very seriously,” Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas said Sunday. “We had more notice on this system than you normally do. You normally are looking at a couple of hours’ notice. Well, this one had almost two days’ notice.”"
Forecasting and statistical models that yield accurate forecasts would appear to be a growth industry. If people are self interested and if they trust the high frequency event forecasters (will there be a nasty tornado tomorrow?) then they have strong incentives to respond to the information. Every American should buy a copy of Stata 11.2!
The article goes on to say that the public is helping to play the role of "natural disaster monitors" and information technology is being used to tract natural disasters. Another quote; " What seems to be happening, Mr. Bunting said, is that the public has become more aware of smaller storms that once might have gone unrecorded. “We have more people chasing and more storm spotters,” he said, adding, “I suspect that they were always occurring, but there are more people chasing them now and documenting them with cameras.”"