Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Sherman-Morris, Kathleen

Committee Member

Poe, Phillip

Committee Member

Mercer, Andrew E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Professional Meteorology/Climatology

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Repeated exposure to tornado events in “Dixie Alley” over the years with often fatal outcomes has led to vibrant discussion in the weather enterprise. Two areas of focus for research are socio-economic factors which increase vulnerability for individuals, and the communication channels used by individuals during tornado events. Understanding what individuals know and how their background and experiences play a role in weather knowledge can help communicators reach at-risk groups more effectively and efficiently not only in the moments that matter, but also when education can play a role in the weeks and months before a potential tornado event. Through a comprehensive survey, socio-economic factors were analyzed with public perception and tornado alert knowledge. Individuals in Mississippi and Alabama have a firm grasp in tornado knowledge and can perceive vulnerability based on several factors.