26 Aug '11, 2pm

As Irene Approaches, so Does Challenge of Heeding Warnings About Rare Threats:

A serious earthquake shakes the Mid Atlantic and New England states, and the reaction is as much excitement as fear. Now a serious hurricane bears down on tens of millions of Americans. How will they respond? The psychology of risk perception suggests that in many cases their reactions won’t match the realities of the danger, and as a result, some of their choices and behaviors might not maximize their safety. Hurricanes are thankfully rare in the Northeast. The more powerful, more dangerous ones are rarer still. Few of those threatened by Irene have lost homes or property, or loved ones, or even just lost electrical power, or water, or phone/cable/Internet connections for days or weeks, the way people have in the Carolinas, Florida, the Gulf Coast states. Hurricanes in the Northeast are like earthquakes in a way — rare oddities to Twitter and text about as much as to fear...

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/26/as-irene-app...

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