May/June 2006SERCC Helps Track Storms of the Pastby Marc Rapport

If you need the lowdown on storms past and present from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Virginia this hurricane season, a good place to start is the Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC).

One of six such centers in the country, the SERCC is housed in the Land, Water and Conservation Division of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along with its national headquarters, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C.

The SERCC's mission is to provide timely, high-quality and pertinent climate data and information to public and private users, including providing personal responses to inquiries as quickly as possible.

While not weather forecasters, during hurricane season, the SERCC staff's services include providing a listserv that sends out updates from the National Hurricane Center as they become available, as well as years of data from past storms.

"It's all on our Web site at www.sercc.com/. It's a good product that really keeps people updated on what's going on and what's happened before," says William Schmitz, a SERCC climatologist.

The hurricane pages include storm tracks, rainfall and other data by year in the SERCC's coverage area: Alabama, the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dig into the 2005 page and one can find, for instance, that Tropical Storm Cindy early in that busy season dropped about two inches of rain in the Greenville area.

"We have a wide range of consumers of our information," Schmitz says. "And they include a wide range of interests, such as electric utilities, agriculture, insurance companies and just private citizens."

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