Severe weather events lead South Carolina to establish a state office of resiliency

South Carolina is experiencing climate change like other spots in the United States and two impacts for the state are rising temperatures and severe weather events.

However, a recent report by the state’s Office of Resilience could give some ideas to citizens to help ease the impact of climate change.

“This is a great day for South Carolina,” said Chief Resilience Officer Ben Duncan in a statement about the report. “South Carolinians are familiar with the devastating effects of hurricanes, flooding, and other extreme weather. Our office has been on the ground rebuilding and repairing homes and walking through the recovery process with our citizens. Now we have a plan that will help our communities address these risks proactively.”

One indicator of the state warming is the number of triple digit temperature days.

According to S.C. State Climatology Office data from 1887-2022, the maximum temperature has reached triple digits four times.

The highest temperature was 113 degrees on June 29, 2012 at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

The floods in 2015 and hurricanes from 2016 and 2018 were all presidentially declared disasters, making federal funding available. Part of the reason the state’s legislature established the Office of Resilience was these three disasters occurred in less than four years.

In June 2023, the state’s Office of Resilience issued it’s strategic plan for risk reduction and had a section on climate trends. In that section, it stated South Carolina’s temperature will increase five to 10 degrees by 2100 depending on future greenhouse gas emissions.

The report stated South Carolina is in a position that’s vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes. While the impact of these storms have fluctuated in the Palmetto State, projections show greater wind and precipitation intensity for the storms that do occur.

Elsewhere in the report, it states that South Carolina’s coast is low-lying and vulnerable to rising sea level. The sea level has risen by approximately one foot and is expected to rise another foot by 2050.

The recommendations in the report include strengthening building codes, incorporating resilience into land use and housing recovery and improving data collection.