Public perceptions of natural hazards were examined taking the hurricane Lothar as an example. First, the reactions and cognitive processes of the Swiss population were investigated through a representative telephone survey. The empirical results show clearly that hurricane Lothar was perceived as a very unusual, frightening but fascinating occurrence by the Swiss. Many are deeply concerned about a possible increase in the frequency of various natural hazards, like inundations, avalanches or storms in the near future. Nonetheless, the hurricane Lothar did not trigger a persistant change in individual behaviour. Since the storm people appear to have been largely satisfied with the handling of the consequences by the authorities. Second, the effects of Lothar on different interest groups were examined. Based on focused interviews with exponents of relevant views, the study show that all interest groups were extensively affected on an ideational level. The hurricane gave rise to hardly any new conflicts, but existing conflicts tended to be rekindled. More effective cooperation between the different interest groups is desirable in the process of problem resolution and their interests should be considered in a broader context. In addition, more advice and information from the authorities would often be desirable.