University of South Carolina

2011 Hurricane Season; University of South Carolina experts list

Contact: Peggy Binette 803-777-5400

The University of South Carolina’s Office of News and Internal Communications 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.

Preparedness and policy

Dr. Susan Cutter, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Geography, is considered one of the leading authorities in the world 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. As director of the university’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. She is completing a 2011 survey of S.C. hurricane evacuation behavior for the Army Corps of Engineers. Cutter contact information:; 803-699-1445 (home). (News contact: Peggy Binette)

Recreating U.S. 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. 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). (News 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. 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). (News 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. 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). (News contact: Peggy Binette)

Risk and insurance

Ernie Csiszar, former CEO of Seibels Bruce Insurance and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), directs the Risk and Uncertainty Management Initiative at the Darla Moore School of Business. Csiszar can discuss risk assessment and insurance planning for coastal residents. He can address residential property insurance, the impact of hurricane loss on insurance pricing and the damage estimation process after a hurricane. Csiszar has more than 30 years of business experience in merchant banking and insurance. In addition to his leadership with Siebel’s Bruce and PCI, he served as president of the National Association of Insurance Supervisors (NAIC). Csiszar contact information: ; 803-777-5984 (office) (News contact: Peggy Binette)

Legal issues and ramifications surrounding hurricane damage

Josh Eagle, an associate professor in the School of Law, specializes in natural resources and coastal law and can discuss environmental-policy implications and regulatory requirements related to hurricanes. Eagle, an authority on coastal law, which encompasses land use and development, property and the preservation of natural resources, has written the first textbook devoted to the subject of coastal law. The text will be released this fall. Eagle contact information:; 777-2486 (office). (News contact: Peggy Binette)

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). (News contact: Megan Sexton)

How a storm changes marine organism health; pollution impacts of hurricanes

Dr. Pamela Morris is a marine microbial ecologist and research professor of the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences near Georgetown, S.C. She can address questions relating to the impact of coastal storms on microbial community shifts related to changes in marine organism health status, the identification of human and marine pathogen reservoirs and pollution impacts. Morris' contact information:, 843-904-9039 (office); 843-991-8355 (cell). ). (News contact: Megan Sexton)

Coastal storm impacts on fish, shellfish and marsh animals

Dr. Dennis Allen is a research professor and resident director of the USC Baruch Marine Field Laboratory on the coast in Georgetown, S.C. With more than 30 years of experience on the S.C. coast, and professional interests in the ecology of fishes, shrimps, crabs, and less familiar animals of salt marshes, estuaries, and the coastal ocean, he is available to discuss issues including threats and impacts of coastal storms. Allen contact information: or 843-904-9025 (office). (News contact: Megan Sexton)

Storm impacts on water quality

Dr. Dianne Greenfield is a coastal marine scientist and an assistant professor with the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences near Georgetown, S.C, and she holds a joint appointment with the Marine Resources Research Institute in Charleston. She can address questions relating to the effect of storms on our coast and its ecology, especially water quality, algal blooms and nutrients. Greenfield's contact information:, 843-725-4823 (office). (News contact: Megan Sexton)

Impact of storms on coastal ecology, salt marshes

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). (News contact: Megan Sexton)

Impact of storm surge, flooding

Dr. George Voulgaris,a coastal oceanographer researcher, studies the wind-driven and tidal currents as well as 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 that provides real-time waves, currents and water level information. 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: (News contact: Megan Sexton)

Levee breaches and closure procedures

Dr. Hanif Chaudhry, associate dean in the College of Engineering and Computing, 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). (News contact: Megan Sexton)

Bridge and building safety after storms

How do storms impact bridges and buildings? Dr. Paul Ziehl, associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, has significant experience with the design, post-event evaluation and remediation of reinforced concrete, steel, timber and fiber-reinforced polymer structures and systems, including bridges and buildings. He has additional experience and expertise in structural health monitoring of buildings and transportation systems. Ziehl contact information: 803-467-4030 (cell). (News 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). (News contact: Peggy Binette)

Hurricane Camille remembered

2011 marks 42 years since Hurricane Camille slammed the Mississippi Coast, killing more than 130 people. “Camille 1969: Histories of a Hurricane,” written by Dr. Mark Smith, a Carolina Distinguished Professor of History who examines history through the senses, provides a detailed look at the human dimensions of disaster and the experiences of the people who survive. Smith’s 2011 book provides an understanding of time and place through vivid personal accounts. Examples include the roar of winds that tore homes apart, the endless buzz of chainsaws during the clean-up, the stench of rotting food and the rearrangement of segregation protocols, including prohibited physical contact between blacks and whites, that were abandoned in the moment of crisis when safety and health trumped prejudice and race. Smith contact information:; 803-777-6362. (News contact: Peggy Binette)

Using technology to assess coastal changes

Storm surges and hurricane winds can alter the coast line dramatically, far beyond what can be seen during a walk along the beach. Dr. Dwayne E. Porter, chairman of the department of environmental health sciences at the Arnold School of Public Health and research associate at the university’s Baruch Center for Marine & Coastal Sciences, can discuss how GIS and other technology are used to assess coastal changes that occur after a hurricane and the importance of such assessments for the environment and coastal planners. Porter contact information: (News contact: Margaret Lamb)

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). (News contact: Megan Sexton)

Impact on tourism market

Dr. Sheryl Kline is an associate professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. She can discuss the impact of hurricanes on travel planning and on the hotel industry. Kline contact information: and at 803 777-3249 (office). (News contact: Frenche Brewer)

Retail and hospitality hurricane preparedness

Christian Stegmaier is an expert in hotel and restaurant law in the School of Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Management. He can discuss disaster planning preparedness; proper response following an emergency; and matters relating to the interruption of business/continuation of business. Additionally, there are laws in South Carolina relating to price gouging and he can talk about advising restaurant, hotel and convenience store clients in times of natural emergencies regarding the severe legal consequences resulting from price gouging. Stegmaier contact information:, 803-255-0454 (office). (News contact: Frenche Brewer)











































By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 05/31/11 @ 4:30 PM | Updated: 10/13/11 @ 1:19 PM | Permalink