Coastal Hazards

King Tides - You Can Help!

South Carolina's coastal zone is subject to well-known hazards associated with coastal storms as well as long-term, gradual changes such as continued sea level rise and saltwater intrusion. These hazards can place environmental, economic, and cultural resources at risk. DHEC is currently working on several hazard mitigation and planning activities including participation on the State Hazard Mitigation Interagency Coordination Committee (led by the SC Emergency Management Division) and a variety of policy initiatives at the state, regional, and national level. The SC Beachfront Management Act also requires documentation of post-storm recovery plans in Local Comprehensive Beach Management Plans , and DHEC staff provide technical assistance to communities preparing these plans. DHEC-OCRM was also recently appointed as the lead SC agency for regional approaches to coastal disaster resilience under the Governor's South Atlantic Alliance .

Hazard Vulnerability Assessment Tool (HVA)

DHEC, in partnership with the Governors' South Atlantic Alliance, is promoting the use of a new spatial analysis tool that can be used by state and local coastal managers and scientists to improve comprehensive and hazard mitigation planning, post-disaster redevelopment, as well as determine areas best suited for restoration and mitigation efforts. The Hazard Vulnerability Assessment tool (HVA) evaluates coastal hazard vulnerability from four hazards: storm surge, shoreline change rate (erosion or accretion), flooding, and social/economic vulnerability (SoVI®). The final product is a vulnerability index on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the least risk, 5 being the most risk). In addition to this composite product, HVA also produces products for Inundation (surge + flooding), Inundation + SoVI®, and Shoreline Change (rate, plus temporal and spatial variations). Users can examine each hazard component to see what has the most impact in any given area and create files that can be integrated into GIS. The tool is stand-alone, open source and available free to all users.

MyCoast: South Carolina App

MyCoast is a mobile-device-enabled website that lets you upload photographs and characterize environmental conditions associated with coastal events. MyCoast houses two programs:

  • The SC King Tides Initiative allows you to submit photographs showing the impact of tides along beaches, tidal creeks and low-lying areas. The app geo-locates the photographer's position and the time that the photo was taken based on metadata included in the picture file. The app then adds useful information to the report, including weather conditions, tide stage and proximity to the nearest tidal gauge. Individual reports, along with photographs, are displayed through a map interface on the MyCoast website. The operational definition of a King Tide is any predicted extreme spring tide, typically equal to or greater than 6.6-foot Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) in Charleston Harbor. DHEC has identified 28 King Tide events, occurring mostly in the late summer and early fall of 2014, and has incorporated an icon on its annual Tide Chart to assist in raising public awareness.
  • Storm Witness works much like King Tides but focuses on the collection and communication of storm-related impacts to coastal structures and beach erosion. In addition to submitting photos, you can also characterize post-storm beach conditions and impacts to specific types of structures. The information collected through Storm Witness enables DHEC to more efficiently coordinate with state and local governmental entities and prioritize storm response activities.

Management Authorities

Research and Policy Development

Planning Activities

Extension and Education