Weather, climate, and narrative: A relational model for democratizing risk communication

Raul P. Lejano, Eulito V. Casas, Rosabella B. Montes, Lynie P. Lengwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing evidence that the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events may be increasing in conjunction with climate change. This means that many communities will encounter phenomena, such as extreme storm surge events, never before experienced by local residents. The tragic effects of Typhoon Haiyan on the city of Tacloban, Philippines, in November 2013 were attributed, in part, to the inability of routine technical bulletins to communicate the unprecedented nature of the predicted storm surge. In re-sponse, the authors construct a relational model of risk communication that suggests that narrative messages that simulate direct face-to-face communication may be more effective in spurring action. Conducting a postevent target audience study in the city of Tacloban, the authors tested the relative effectiveness of narrative-based versus technical message designs on residents who chose not to evacuate during the typhoon. Results show increased effectiveness of the narrative design vis-à-vis intent to evacuate, self-relevance and vividness of the message, and perceived authority of the message source. The study also explored factors behind noncompliance with evacuation advisories. The research supports the relational model, which cap-tures insights from recent research on evacuation and emergency preparedness for extreme hazard events. It supports a broader effort to democratize risk communication and, in so doing, increase people’s sense of agency in preparing for these events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-594
Number of pages16
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


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