DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The SCDNR Climatology Office and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments team from the University of South Carolina hosted a workshop at Clemson University’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center Thursday.
The event aimed to teach about the impact of the climate on urban planning and development and how to mitigate the effects of severe weather. About 60 people attended, mostly from city and county governments.
Lindsay Privette, the economic development director for the Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments said it’s critical to know what to avoid when planning for growth in the area.
“A lot of what we do is planning in areas where development hasn’t happened yet and may be coming in the future,” Privette said.
She said much of the workshop focused on preventing existing issues from affecting more people in the future.
“What can we do to make sure that when the development does happen, we don’t have to put houses on stilts, we don’t have to relocate people?” she said.
Privette said flooding is a constant problem around the Pee Dee and the information she learned at the workshop could help her make better recommendations for land use. For example, she said and area prone to flooding would be better suited for a green space than housing or industry.
“If we’re not aware of what’s changing in our environment, then we are not going to be able to make good development decisions down the road,” Privette said.
Dr. Hope Mizzell, the state climatologist at SCDNR, said information like this is especially important when it comes to preparing for major weather events like hurricanes.
“What we are absolutely seeing is a change in our extreme rainfall events — both droughts as well as floods,” Mizzell said.
She said attendees learned how to access the latest available climate data and heard from other local leaders about the mitigation methods they have found to be effective.
“A lot of new people have moved to South Carolina, there have been a lot of changes to our infrastructure as well as a lot of new development that needs to be considered as we plan for the next big one,” she said.
The workshop was the second of three taking place around the state. The first was held in Charleston and the next one will take place in Greenville.