University of South Carolina

2010 hurricane season experts


The University of South Carolina’s Office of Media Relations has compiled a list of faculty experts, many of whom conducted research along the Southeast coast and Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, for reporters who are covering hurricane, environmental and weather-related stories. To arrange interviews, call 803-777-5400 and ask for the media relations contact listed with each entry. After-hours contact information, if available, is listed with each expert.

  • Preparing for the worst
    Dr. Susan Cutter, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography, is considered one of the leading authorities on emergency preparedness, response and recovery, and social vulnerability to manmade and natural disasters. She is frequently consulted by government agencies for her expertise in the roles of public agencies, such as FEMA and state emergency-preparedness offices, in handling disasters. 
    Susan Cutter
    Susan Cutter
    As director of the University of South Carolina’s Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, one of the country’s top facilities for integrating hazards research with geospatial information, Cutter has done extensive grant-funded research on hurricane evacuations and how people decide whether to evacuate. Immediately after Katrina, she led a team of researchers who mapped storm-surge inundation along the Gulf Coast and assessed where residents were the most vulnerable. Most recently, with funding from a National Science Foundation grant, she has teamed up with several colleagues to study social vulnerability and rebuilding along the Gulf Coast after Katrina. Cutter contact information:; 803-777-1590 (office). (Media relations contact: Peggy Binette)

  • Hurricane history
    Dr. Cary Mock
    ,an associate professor of geography and climatologist, has reconstructed a hurricane history for South Carolina and other areas of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as for typhoons in the Pacific Ocean.
    Cary Mock
    Cary Mock
    From studying old diaries, 18th- and 19th-century plantation records, newspapers, ship logbooks and early meteorological records, he has created a perspective on hurricanes during the last several hundred years, which, in turn, is leading to a better understanding of hurricane patterns and the relationships between hurricanes and global climate change. Mock, who teaches meteorology courses, also can discuss the meteorological characteristics, climate, tracks and forecasting aspects of hurricanes. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation and NOAA. Mock contact information:; 787-6109 (home); 777-1211 (office; frequently there on weekends). (Media relations contact: Peggy Binette)


  • A hurricane's impact on agriculture
    Hurricanes and severe weather can have a devastating effect on crops. Dr. Greg Carbone, a geography professor and climatologist, can discuss the impact of a severe hurricane on the state’s crops and water resources. Carbone also can discuss the nature of hurricanes, the conditions for their formation, how they move across water and land, the basics of storm structure and patterns of development, as well as the challenges to forecasting hurricanes. Carbone also is studying water-resource management in the Carolinas. Carbone contact information:; 803-376-4396 (home); 803-777-0682 (office). (Media relations contact: Peggy Binette)


  • The economic impact of hurricanes
    Dr. Douglas Woodward
    , director of the Division of Research and professor of economics at the Darla Moore School of Business, can discuss the economic impact of a hurricane on South Carolina’s economy.
    Doug Woodward
    Doug Woodward
    Woodward is well known for his economic impact analysis and studies and is frequently called upon by national media for his insights to economic development, industry location and direct-foreign investment, particularly as they relate to South Carolina and the Southeast. Woodward contact information:; 777-4424 (office). (Media relations contact: Peggy Binette)


  • Assessing storm surge and damage
    Dr. Jerry Mitchell, director of the S.C. Geographic Alliance, can discuss the nature and dynamics of storm surge and how the vulnerability of communities is determined.
    Jerry Mitchell
    Jerry Mitchell
    Most recently, Mitchell, along with other university geography researchers, mapped storm-surge inundation from Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast and assessed where residents were the most vulnerable. Mitchell contact information:; 803-777-2986 (office); 803-252-2702 (home). (Media relations contact: Peggy Binette)


  • Legal issues and ramifications surrounding hurricane damage
    Kim Connolly
    Kim Connolly
    Kim Diana Connolly
    specializes in natural resources and wetlands/coastal law and can discuss environmental-policy implications and regulatory requirements related to hurricanes. Connolly contact information through July:; 777-6880 (office). (Media relations contact: Bond Nickles)


  • Water, water everywhere
    In addition to high winds, the water that accompanies hurricanes can overwhelm a region. Geology professor Dr. Venkat Lakshmi, a hydrometeorology expert, can discuss the impact of intense precipitation. After Hurricane Katrina, Lakshmi conducted a study on flooding along the Gulf Coast and its impact. He can discuss flash floods and the seriousness of flash-flood advisories, coastal erosion when sediment is washed away and how the horizontal movement of wind and water changes the landscape. Lakshmi contact information: 803-361-0415 (mobile). (Media relations contact: Megan Sexton)


  • Impact of storm surge, flooding
    Dr. George Voulgaris
    , a geology researcher, studies the tide and wave patterns along the South Carolina coast. He can discuss the effect of hurricanes on coastal erosion and how a hurricane’s storm surge affects land. Since Hurricane Katrina, Voulgaris has been studying the resilience of barrier islands along the Gulf Coast. In 2004, Voulgaris and his team of researchers launched technology off the S.C. coast -- at the Springmaid Beach pier near Myrtle Beach and at Folly Beach -- to get a 24-hour reading of waves, currents and water level. This technology will enable marine scientists and state agencies to determine the severity of a hurricane’s impact as the storm occurs. He also can talk about the dangers of flooding during and after a hurricane. Voulgaris contact information: (Media relations contact: Megan Sexton)


  • Levee breaches and closure procedures
    Hanif Chaudhry
    Hanif Chaudhry
    Dr. Hanif Chaudhry
    , chairman of the university’s department of civil and environmental engineering, has studied the levee breaches in New Orleans, the worst of which occurred at the 17th Street Canal. Chaudhry recently received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to lead an international research effort on levee breach and dam failure. Chaudhry contact information: 803-407-3114 (home). (Media relations contact: Megan Sexton)


  • Damage to real estate market
    William Harrison Jr. directs the South Carolina Real Estate Center at the university’s Darla Moore School of Business. Harrison, an expert in real estate finance who lives in Charleston, S.C., can address an array of post-hurricane real estate topics, including dislocation and devaluation due to damage, perceptions of risk, insurance escalations and cancellations, material shortages and condo association gridlock. Harrison contact information:; 843-276-6116 (cell). (Media relations contact: Peggy Binette)


  • Impact of storms on coastal ecology
    Jim Morris
    Jim Morris
    Dr. Jim Morris is a coastal marine scientist and director of the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences near Georgetown, S.C. He can address questions relating to the effect of sea-level rise and storms on our coast and its ecology, especially its salt marshes. Morris contact information:, 803-777-5288 (office). (Media relations contact: Megan Sexton)


  • Hurricane impact on the oceans
    Dr. Subra Bulusu
    is an associate professor in the marine science program and the Department of earth and ocean sciences. He can discuss a hurricane’s impact on the oceans using remote-sensing techniques, satellite oceanography and ocean modeling. Bulusu contact information:, 803-777-2572 (office). (Media relations contact: Megan Sexton)

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 05/26/10 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 06/04/10 @ 10:19 AM | Permalink