UofSC experts: 2022 hurricane season



The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1. Researchers at the University of South Carolina are available to discuss multiple aspects of the 2022 hurricane season, including forecasting, disaster planning and historical perspectives. To coordinate an interview, contact the staff member listed with the entry.

Post-storm health hazards

Jill Michels, managing director of the Palmetto Poison Center, can discuss health threats that arise during after hurricane, such as the risk of food-borne illness from eating spoiled food. In addition, she can address carbon monoxide poisoning, which can occur when generators are used improperly. The Palmetto Poison Center is staffed by toxicology experts who provide free advice to South Carolina residents about exposure to poisonous materials.
News contact: Margaret Gregory, mar24@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-760-0255 


Social media listening during natural disasters

Sarah Johnson is manager of the university’s Social Media Insights Lab. The lab uses artificial intelligence-powered software to study online conversations around a variety of topics. Johnson can provide analytics reports on hurricanes and emergency response, including public sentiment, recurring topics of conversation and social media influencers, and what are South Carolinians saying before, during and after hurricanes hit.
News contact: Michaela Taylor, mjbaker@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-2696

Preparing medication for evacuation

Jill Michels, managing director of the Palmetto Poison Center, can discuss the risk of ingestion by children from improperly contained medications as well as the need for health care providers to have accurate information about a patient’s medications in case of extended displacement. Although it may be tempting to consolidate medicine into a single container during an evacuation, keeping pills in their original bottle is important for medication safety. 
News contact: Margaret Gregory, mar24@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-760-0255

Impact of intense wind and precipitation

Jean Taylor Ellis, professor of geography with an affiliation with the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, investigates the effects of wind, waves and King Tides on the coastal environment. She can discuss the impact of storms and humans on shorelines. Ellis oversees the university’s Wind-Induced Nearshore Dynamics lab, which has been surveying the coast of South Carolina for seven years. Ellis was on South Carolina’s DHEC-OCRM’s Jurisdictional Line Stakeholder Workgroup and contributed to the Governor’s Floodwater Commission Report. She is the current technical advisor to SC Beach Advocates. 
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu

Hurricanes' impact on oceans

Subra Bulusu is a professor of satellite oceanography and physical oceanography and head of the Satellite Oceanography Laboratory in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment. He can discuss a hurricane's impact on oceans using remote-sensing techniques, satellite oceanography and ocean modeling. He served (2017-2020) as committee member for the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. He is on NOAA's extreme events ocean observations task team.
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu

Recreating U.S. hurricane history

Cary Mock, professor of geography and a climatologist, has reconstructed a hurricane history for South Carolina and other areas of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and for typhoons that impacted Hawaii and East Asian countries. Mock, who's research is funded by NOAA, can discuss the meteorological characteristics, climate, tracks and forecasting aspects of hurricanes. By studying 18th- and 19th-century plantation records, newspapers, diaries, ship logbooks and early meteorological records, Mock created a perspective on hurricanes during the last several hundred years, which provides a better understanding of their patterns and the relationship between hurricanes and climate change. 
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu


Preparedness and policy

Brett Robertson, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, studies disaster preparedness and prevention communication. He can discuss barriers vulnerable and marginalized populations face during these crises and how emerging technologies can mediate them, and how do people use social media and mobile devices to seek help from first responders when natural disasters hit.
News contact: Michaela Taylor, mjbaker@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-2696

Susan Cutter, Carolina Distinguished Professor of geography, is director of the university's Hazards Vulnerability and Resilience Research Institute, one of the country's top facilities for integrating hazards research with geospatial information. Cutter can discuss emergency preparedness, response and recovery, social vulnerability to hazards and disasters, and the impact of storms as a function of community vulnerability and resilience and long-term recovery in communities. Cutter and colleagues at the institute conducted a survey of evacuation behavior from Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and monitored long-term recovery along the Mississippi coast after Hurricane Katrina. 
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu

Shannon A. Bowen, professor in the College of Information and Communications, studies how emergency management agencies use social media to keep the public informed and quell misinformation through a National Science Foundation grant and other studies. She can discuss the challenges these agencies face during floods, hurricanes and other disasters. She can also share recommendations for national, state and local agencies for their disaster communication and recovery efforts.
News contact: Michaela Taylor, mjbaker@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-2696

Impact of storms on coastal ecology, salt marshes and water quality

James Pinckney is a marine ecologist, professor in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment and director of the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences near Georgetown, South Carolina. He studies how marine ecosystems work and can discuss storms’ impact on microalgae and estuarine systems.
News contact: Bryan Gentry, brgentry@sc.edu, 803-576-7650

Risk management and insurance

Robert Hartwig is a finance professor in the Darla Moore School of Business and one of the nation’s leading authorities on insurance. 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. Hartwig was previously president of Insurance Information Institute and is frequently sought by national media for insights and economic analysis in the insurance industry. 
News contact: Marjorie Riddle Duffie, marjorie.duffie@moore.sc.edu, 803-576-7337.

Financial impacts and bank borrowing capacity

Ai He, assistant professor of finance at the Darla Moore School of Business, researches the financial impact of natural disasters on bank borrowing capacity and how natural disasters and climate change can impact corporate loan pricing and interest rates. She can discuss the impact of natural disasters on banks and how climate change impacts finance.
News contact: Marjorie Riddle Duffie, marjorie.duffie@moore.sc.edu, 803-576-7337.

Homeownership

Crystal Zahn and Tamara Sheldon are associate professors of economics at the Darla Moore School of Business. Part of Zhan and Sheldon's joint research examines how natural disasters can impact the economic decisions of households in the years after the disaster, such as homeownership, migration and expenditures. They can discuss these impacts of natural disasters on individuals' housing and financial choices.
News contact: Marjorie Riddle Duffie, marjorie.duffie@moore.sc.edu, 803-576-7337.

Economic impact of storms in tourist destinations and tourism crisis management

Rich Harrill and Drew Martin, professors in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, can discuss the impact of natural disasters on tourism as canceled vacation plans and lost tourism dollars have short-term and lasting economic effects. The two also can  discuss how businesses in storm-threatened areas prepare for and recover from storms, and how the possibility of damage affects business plans,  
News contact: Allen Wallace, awallace@sc.edu, 803-777-5667

Scott Smith, assistant professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, is widely recognized as a leading expert on theme parks. He can discuss the impact of storms on parks and other tourist destinations. He also provides consulting to the hotel, resort and theme park industries.
News contact: Allen Wallace, awallace@sc.edu, 803-777-5667

Ashley Schroeder is an assistant professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and research lead of the Crisis Management Working Group in the Richardson Family SmartState Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development. She can discuss tourism crisis management and travel-risk perceptions. She was interviewed by the World Travel and Tourism Council as an expert in tourism crisis management and was quoted in the council's Crisis Preparedness, Management and Recovery report.
News contact: Allen Wallace, awallace@sc.edu, 803-777-5667

Lori Pennington-Gray is director of the Richardson Family SmartState Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Developmen. She focuses on enhancing the industry and aiding in strategic policy decisions by converting research into practice. Pennington-Gray can discuss tourism crisis management. Her work has been featured in numerous national media outlets. 
News contact: Allen Wallace, awallace@sc.edu, 803-777-5667


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