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Food and crop safety

  • For consumers: Clemson University’s Home and Garden Information Center has tips to help consumers eat safely during and after a hurricane, tropical storm or floods. Go to the HGIC website.
  • Clemson University food safety experts urge caution in handling crops that are exposed to floodwaters. “We have put together a fact sheet of common sense tips that will go far towards making sure that harvested crops are properly handled, and Clemson Extension is on the ground in affected areas to assist farmers and answer their questions,” said Julie Northcutt, professor and Cooperative Extension Food Safety and Nutrition Program team leader. Federal regulations state that crops that are under water during a flood cannot be sold for human consumption, says Northcutt. Northcutt’s contact information is: 864-656-3688, jknorth@clemson.edu.


  • Charlotte Krugler, emergency preparedness veterinarian, Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (ckrugle@clemson.edu, 803-726-7801): Krugler’s office is in Columbia. She assists with training related to foreign animal diseases and serves as liaison to state emergency management to assist with resource coordination for animal/agricultural issues in disasters.

High winds

  • Weichiang Pang is the professor at Clemson’s wind tunnel testing facility. The Wind Load Testing Facility (WLTF) is a 10,000-square-foot laboratory housing one of the largest atmospheric boundary wind tunnels in the country. The WLTF possesses an instrumentation and model shop area, actuators and fabrication workshop that are used for constructing test specimens. Pang’s contact information is: 979-220-9549, wpang@clemson.edu.

Economic impact

Scott Baier is an associate professor and chair of the John E. Walker Department of Economics. He can speak generally about areas of the economy that could be affected in the aftermath of the storm. From 2007-2008, Baier was a senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers and provided economic analyses of current events and pending legislation and assisted with the production of the Economic Report of the President. Baier’s award-winning research focuses on international trade and economic growth and development. His project, “The Causes and Consequences of Regionalization” was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Baier’s contact information is: 864-656-4534, sbaier@clemson.edu.

Tourism impact

  • Assistant professor Lauren Duffy’s research has included projects focused on economic impact of tourism, festivals and sporting events. From a destination-management perspective, she has worked with rural communities in crisis management planning and the importance of having protocols in place to address perceptions of safety and destination image-rebuilding. Lauren Duffy’s contact information is: 704-213-2099, lduffy@clemson.edu

Coastal impact

  • If we allowed coastal environments to return to their natural states and didn’t harden them through coastal development and impervious surfaces, they would provide buffers and reduce flooding risk from storms far better than they currently do, according to Caitlin Dyckman, associate professor in Clemson University’s city planning and real estate development department. With the threat of rising sea levels and worsened storms, Dyckman suggests that it’s time to start looking at a more permanent solution to changes the landscape and the environment occurring f rom increased coastal populations. To reach Dyckman, contact Tara Romanella: tromane@clemson.edu, 310-869-5530.
  • “Storms like this remind us that large expanses of natural forest and wetlands absorb and store water and move it away from higher areas,” said Rob Baldwin, Clemson University conservation biologist. “Over time we have put so much impervious surface on the landscape that floods become more catastrophic quicker.” Baldwin said impervious surfaces can lead to more catastrophic flooding. Rob Baldwin’s contact information is: 864-642-7137, baldwi6@clemson.edu.
  • Scott Templeton is an expert in environmental and natural resources economics, and does research in farmer use of climate information, irrigation and crop insurance to reduce risks and improve yields and the economic vulnerability of coastal communities to infrastructural damages from sea level rise and related risk management. Scott Templeton’s contact information is:  864-656-6680, stemple@clemson.edu

Insect Control

  • “With floods, most people think about mosquito problems, and they can be a problem. But you can also have other problems, such as with flies breeding on dead animals or decaying vegetation,” said Eric Benson, professor and entomologist for Clemson’s department of plant and environmental sciences. “You can have ants, especially fire ants in weird places, and things like soil treatments around homes for termites that may be compromised.” Eric Benson’s contact information is: 864-656-7860, ebenson@clemson.edu.

Protecting plants and trees

  • Extension horticulturist Bob Polomski says property owners can take steps before storms to minimize plant damage and keep trees from harming homes and other structures. “Short-term strategies include bringing small potted plants and hanging baskets inside. As for large potted palms or trees, it’s best to lay them on their sides,” Polomski said. Herbaceous annuals and perennials and woody shrubs don’t require prior storm preparation, but may need pruning, staking or replanting after the wind and rain subsides. “Trees should be inspected for defects at least twice a year,” Polomski said. “Property owners need to look for defects that could allow strong winds to cause branch or trunk failures.” Bob Polomski’s contact information is: 864-656-2604, bplmsk@clemson.edu.

Pesticide safety

  • Homeowners, pesticide applicators and businesses should take steps to protect themselves if hurricane flooding and storm surges inundate pesticide storage sites, say experts with Clemson University’s South Carolina Department of Pesticide Regulation. Flooding could cause pesticide containers to leak or spill, contaminating surrounding standing water. “It’s imperative that people wear appropriate personal protective gear to avoid exposure and ensure that skin doesn’t come in contact with contaminated water,” said Ryan Okey, pesticide program chief. Ryan Okey’s contact information is: 864-271-2209, rokey@clemson.edu

Social media impact

  • “During many disasters and crisis events, we often observe how people use social media to share their emotions and connect with others experiencing tragedy,” said Joe Mazer, professor and director of Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center. The Social Media Listening Center in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences is used for research. Salesforce Radian6 provides the platform to listen, discover, measure and engage by capturing more than 150 million sources of social media conversations from Facebook to Twitter. Joseph Mazer’s contact information is: 864-656-1567, JMAZER@clemson.edu.