The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the lives of global populations. As many struggled to adapt to the challenges of a pandemic, 2020 brought the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record. Government officials and other emergency management sources were faced with the challenge of crafting communications that took into account these dual crises and the challenges people navigated when making storm preparation decisions in light of health risks posed by COVID-19. Past research has shown that social media act as valuable sources of information during emergencies and natural disasters, therefore a mixed methods approach was used to analyze tweets about preparation for Hurricane Laura, which struck America’s Gulf Coast during August 2020. The Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Model (CERC) was used to examine how the simultaneous occurrence of threats in the pre-crisis and maintenance stages impacted the public’s concerns as well as how official messaging matched with or diverged from audience needs. Findings indicate the continuing utility of CERC, while at the same time suggesting needed revisions for when dual crises strike, situations that are likely to continue in an age of accelerating climate change. We couch conclusions with implications for scholars, practitioners and public officials.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- General Engineering
- General Social Sciences
- Strategy and Management