May/June 2006Hurricane Warning - Storms on the Horizonby Marc Rapport

South Carolina is prone to all types of natural hazards - from earthquakes to hurricanes. We can prepare for some more easily than for others. So as we move into hurricane season, we want to provide you with information on how to get ready for the possibility that a big storm will make landfall along our coast.

As I note in the next few pages, we at the DNR provide science information to the state Emergency Preparedness Division to help them better prepare the public during the storm season. For those of you who are weather buffs, you'll find in this pull-out section a lot of information on past hurricane seasons, particularly last year.

You'll also read more about the effects of global change on hurricane strength and frequency. Most climate researchers agree the planet is warming - last year was the warmest year since 1880. Since most climate researchers accept the data that demonstrate global warming and agree that warming could lead to more frequent, stronger hurricanes, it is prudent to plan accordingly.

The Palmetto State hasn't experienced a "big" hurricane since Hugo in 1989. Our coastal population has grown by 30 percent (248,000) since then and will continue to grow, so we must take extra care to be prepared to deal with a storm of that magnitude. I hope you will take a few minutes to learn what you need to do to get ready for hurricane season and how the various agencies within state government are working to help prepare for these events. Are you prepared?

Alfred H. (Freddy) Vang
Deputy Director
DNR Land, Water & Conservation Division

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