2016 Hurricane faculty experts list



Hurricane season officially begins June 1. Top researchers at the University of South Carolina are available to discuss multiple aspects of the 2016 hurricane season, including forecasting, disaster planning and historical perspectives. To coordinate an interview, contact the staff member listed with each expert entry.

Impact of intense precipitation

In addition to high winds, the water that accompanies hurricanes can overwhelm a region. Geology professor 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.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Assessing storm surge and damage

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.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Recreating U.S. hurricane history

Cary Mock, 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, including Hawaii. 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.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Bridge and building safety after storms

How do storms impact bridges and buildings? Paul Ziehl, associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, has 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.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Infrastructure and mobility

Nathan Huynh, an associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, has experience in the areas of evacuation, transportation network vulnerability and resiliency, freight transportation, and intermodal network design.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Combating mold after the storm

Mold is problem that faces many businesses and homeowners in the aftermath of hurricanes. Mold thrives in moist environments and can cause serious health problems. Anindya Chanda at the Arnold School of Public Health is director of the Laboratory of Fungal Pathogenesis and Secondary Metabolism at the University of South Carolina. He is available to discuss what people should know about safely removing mold and the health risks mold poses to humans.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Levee breaches and closure procedures

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 is director of a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation that leads an international research effort on modeling of flood hazards due to levee breach and dam failure.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Hurricane impact on the oceans

Subra Bulusu is a professor of satellite oceanography and physical oceanography in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment. He can discuss a hurricane's impact on the oceans using remote-sensing techniques, satellite oceanography and ocean modeling.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Coastal storm impacts on fish, shellfish and marsh animals

Dennis Allen is a research professor and resident director of the USC Baruch Marine Field Laboratory on the coast near 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 was active in studying the environmental impact of 1989's Hurricane Hugo.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Preparedness and policy

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 completed a 2011 survey of South Carolina hurricane evacuation behavior for the Army Corps of Engineers and South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD).

Chris Emrich is a research associate professor at the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute. His research interests include the application of geospatial web-based technologies to emergency management planning and practice, long-term recovery from disaster, and the intersection of social vulnerability and community resilience in the face of disaster. From 2004 to 2007 he provided geospatial support for response and long-term recovery to the state of Florida and has since been actively involved in identifying trends in long term recovery for coastal Mississippi and supervising FEMA's public assistance web-transparency initiative for the Gulf Coast.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Risk management and insurance

Greg Niehaus is a faculty member with the Darla Moore School of Business. Niehaus is a professor of finance and insurance whose research has been published in top journals. He can discuss risk assessment, insurance pricing, and public policy issues related to insurance for coastal residents and businesses.  Specific topics include catastrophe modeling, catastrophe bonds, catastrophe reinsurance, and the National Flood Insurance Program.  

News contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704

The economic impact of hurricanes

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.

News contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704

Retail and hospitality hurricane preparedness

Christian Stegmaier specializes 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. He can also talk about advising restaurants, hotels and convenience stores about the legal consequences resulting from price gouging following natural disasters

News contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704

Pricing and revenue hurricane impact

Scott Smith specializes in pricing and revenue management in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. He can discuss disaster price gouging following natural disasters. A native Floridian, Smith has extensive experience in tourism and hospitality management, having managed Florida hotels during several major hurricane events.

News contact: Megan Sexton, 803-777-1421

Legal issues and ramifications surrounding hurricane damage

Josh Eagle, the Solomon Blatt Professor of Law in the university's 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, wrote the first textbook devoted to the subject of coastal law. It was released in 2011.

News contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-3691

Law and policies of adapting to climate impacts

Nathan Richardson, an assistant professor in the university's School of Law, specializes in environmental and energy law, especially the law and policy of climate change. He can discuss local, regional and national laws and policies aimed at adaptation to climate impacts, including sea level rise and extreme weather events, and the role of various levels of government and agencies in disaster response.

News contact: Peggy Binette, 803-777-7704

Impact of storms on coastal ecology, salt marshes

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 the coast and its ecology, especially its salt marshes.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

Storm impacts on water quality

Dianne Greenfield is a coastal marine scientist and an assistant professor with the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, 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 the coast and its ecology, especially water quality, algal blooms and nutrients.

News contact: Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

 


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