Weather salience is a construct that pertains to the psychological value, significance, and attunement that people have for the weather and its changes. In this article the author describes the construct of weather salience and a measure that was created to assess it, the Weather Salience Questionnaire (WxSQ). The author evaluates the measure's psychometric properties, its relationship to owning and using a thermometer, and its relationship with prior hurricane evacuations and having experienced the effects of severe weather using a convenience sample of 946 undergraduate students. The WxSQ measurement model exhibits a good fit to the data following a maximum likelihood factor analysis of the items. The results of other analyses reveal that the WxSQ possesses acceptable psychometric properties (Cronbach's α = 0.83, test-retest reliability coefficient of 0.91). Weather salience was related to the ownership and use of a thermometer and also to being able to correctly distinguish between weather watches and warnings. Differences in weather salience scores also were observed, especially for men, between those students who had (versus had not) evacuated because of a hurricane and between those who had (versus had not) experienced weather-related property damages. The limitations of the study due to the use of an undergraduate sample are discussed along with some possible applications of the WxSQ.

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Footnotes

Department of Counseling and Human Development, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia