Hurricane season begins, new 5-year project to help Carolinians, better prepare for the storms

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Myrtle Beach, S.C. (WBTW) — It’s almost the start of another storm season, and experts are predicting it to be above-average.

Hurricane season officially starts Tuesday and will go through November. Starting this year, a new research project is helping South Carolinians better prepare for hurricanes.

Over the next five years, a team of Clemson researchers will work with state emergency management officials to find ways to minimize public risk when powerful storms head our way.

The team will base its study on forecasts, statistical models, and prior knowledge. Their goal is to create a tool for emergency officials to better monitor hurricane paths, track uncertainty, and plan for disaster relief.

The head of the research project, Yongjia Song, received $500,000 through the National Science Foundation Career Program for his funding.

“My goal is to create a channel to bring together government officials and researchers on this specific topic, which is very challenging and relevant to coastal South Carolina,” Song said.

Song would use the research to help create evacuation and contingency plans during the hurricane season. The project also plans to help shelters open and direct relief to those most affected.

Experts say the country needs to be adequately prepared and predict anywhere from ten to 20 named storms. Of those, a few with possibilities to develop into hurricanes.

Clemson researchers say the five-year research project aims to help residents, government officials, and emergency management prepare in advance. They will use programming models and algorithmic frameworks to predict the hurricane’s strength and pattern.

The research would help direct when shelters should open and send relief items such as food and water.

Results will update as the storm’s conditions change.

“I think providing this channel and educating if we can get tools in the end, which can help individuals deal with hurricanes, but more importantly making people aware of the existence of this type of technique in the long run,” Song said.

The research will also apply to natural disasters that have a slow onset, like flooding.

For more on this year’s hurricane season, predictions, and how to keep you and your home safe, click here.

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