What is already known:
What this study adds:
There were three deadly tornado events in central Oklahoma in a two week time span in May 2013. A mass exodus of drivers occurred during the third event, clogging multiple interstates upwards of 60 miles away from the main storms. Scientists needed to understand what motivated people to act the way they did so they could better anticipate people’s actions and better communicate to the public in the future. To gain a reliable understanding of this, surveys about what people did during the events were created, distributed, and collected. Factors correlated to driving were those with incomes of less than $30,000 and incomes between $70,000 and $100,000; younger age (20-39 years old), and some higher education (a complete or incomplete Bachelor’s degree). Past direct experience with tornadoes was correlated to people staying at home, yet 33% of respondents did not feel safe at home. Of the 77 surveys collected, 27 (35%) respondents had never heard of mitigation before—the strengthening of their homes. Fear was commonly expressed (44%) with an undercurrent of self and home feeling vulnerable. Through these findings, scientists will be better able to anticipate Oklahomans’ responses to tornadic events and the reasons behind them.