Cutter says she expects several changes, including an influx of new residents to the coast who may not have personal experience with hurricanes.
“We know from our research with hurricane events, such as Floyd in 1995 or Katrina in 2005, that personal experience impacts a person’s decision-making,” she said.
The USC team also expects several trends that emerged in the 1990s to have continued. Among these are families who evacuate with multiple vehicles and residents who decide to stay or go based on traditional and new media sources, rather than information from local and state officials. An increased concern for pets also is a factor Cutter expects to see.
“People are media savvy, connected to news 24/7 by cell phones and social media,” Cutter said. “Residents are using information and their own sense of danger to make decisions on whether to leave and when. This poses some interesting challenges for emergency-management officials because you don’t want people deciding to leave at the last minute.”
The Palmetto State is fortunate to have some of the nation’s top scholars in hazards research located at the state’s flagship university. It provides the state with resources most states don’t have, Cutter said.
“The partnership between USC and state government demonstrates a support for and value of the research conducted at the university that benefits the state and its residents,” said Cutter. “It’s one of the best examples of direct benefit from USC research and expertise to South Carolina.”