Beaufort County residents should expect to find a survey about hurricane-evacuation behavior in their mailboxes next week.
It's part of a study geographers at the University of South Carolina and planners at the S.C. Emergency Management Division and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are conducting to help the state better prepare for hurricanes.
They urge coastal residents to participate by promptly returning the survey in the addressed and stamped return envelope included with the questionnaire, according to a USC news release. Residents in Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, Charleston, Georgetown and Horry counties will receive the survey.
"It is critical to understand likely residential behavior in response to a hurricane affecting the South Carolina coast," Susan Cutter, director of USC's Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, said in the release. "This information is vital to helping local and state emergency managers better plan for evacuations."
Among other things, such information would help determine the best locations for shelters, ensure transportation routes can accommodate mass evacuations and establish re-entry procedures, she said.
The number of people living in the state's heavily populated coastal zone has increased since the last Hurricane Evacuation Study was updated in 2000, she noted. Many of those residents do not have personal experience with hurricanes, and the survey will help researchers learn if coastal residents know what to do if a hurricane strikes, she said.
The survey team also plans to look into recent trends related to hurricane behavior, among them: