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Survey Says Coastal Residents Underestimate Power of Severe Weather in Connecticut

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Satellite image of Hurricane Irene making landfall in New York City.

Residents on Connecticut's coast continue to underestimate the economic and physical dangers posed by severe weather, according to a new survey out of Yale.

Destructive storms like Hurricane Irene and Sandy inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to Connecticut's coastline. But a new study of more than 1,100 houses along the state's coast says its residents still don't understand the dangers of these storms.

About half of those surveyed didn't think the damage from storms like Sandy and Irene would be as bad as it was. It also found nearly three quarters of coastal residents had never seen an evacuation map and that only about one-third of them had evacuated to avoid a storm since the beginning of 2009.

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, which conducted the research, said the findings will be important for emergency officials who are still struggling to effectively communicate the risks posed by high-powered tropical storms and hurricanes.

Meanwhile, the U.S. National Climate Assessment says the risk of coastal flooding in Connecticut continues to grow.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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