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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 10, 2013
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Science Museum survey shows most Minnesotans heed warnings in severe weather; yet nearly 60 percent would go storm chasing with scientists if given the chance
St. Paul, Minn. – Nearly 90 percent of Minnesotans seek shelter indoors, check their local news stations or website, or do both when they hear the severe weather sirens sound. Another nine percent of respondents do the opposite – they try to get in on the action by grabbing their cameras and heading outside to document the storm or stand in their garages to watch. Another one percent do nothing, assuming it is unlikely that they will be directly impacted.
The weather survey, conducted by the Science Museum of Minnesota, indicates that Minnesotans understand the power of storms and the need to take precautions. This is positive news as Minnesota prepares for the 2013 Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 15-19, a program led by the National Weather Service and local governments, designed to teach and remind residents about weather hazards and minimize the potential risks.
The survey, which collected data from 440 people, also reveals that tornadoes are the natural disaster that worries them most (56 percent), followed by earthquakes (15 percent), floods (14 percent), ice storms (7 percent), and blizzards (1.5 percent.)
While the results show that people are aware of the risks of severe weather and most take precautions, the majority of people are also fascinated with the power of storms. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they would go storm chasing with a team of scientists if given the chance, and 10 percent have gone storm chasing on their own.
"The safest place to go storm chasing is from the comfort of your Omnitheater seat," said Mike Day, senior vice president at the Science Museum of Minnesota and executive producer of the film Tornado Alley, now showing at the Science Museum of Minnesota. "Tornado Alley introduces audiences to tornadoes as never caught on film before and demonstrates how scientists are working in risky conditions to collect data to help better understand storms and increase severe weather warning times."
Other data from the survey shows that 46 percent of respondents have spotted a tornado and, of those, 42 percent said their reaction was that they were "in awe of the power of nature." Twenty-four percent said seeing the tornado scared them, and 19 percent said they would love to see another one.
"Visitors to the Science Museum's Omnitheater are guaranteed to see a tornado up close, including an F4 in Wadena from June 2010 that was from the largest outbreak of tornadoes in a single day in Minnesota." Day said.
Tornado Alley is a production of Giant Screen Films and Graphic Films. Major funding was provided by the National Science Foundation with additional support from the Giant Dome Theater Consortium.
The Science Museum of Minnesota is the Upper Midwest's most popular museum, inspiring more than one million people each year to explore their changing world through science. Among the nation's largest and most esteemed science museums, the Science Museum conducts research, collects and preserves artifacts, produces and distributes award-winning exhibits and giant screen films, and offers educational programs for children, families, and adults. For more information, call (651) 221-9444 or visit www.smm.org.