Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Greenville County Hazards

wildfire

Drought

According to NOAA’s Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, Greenville County has experienced 10 drought events.

Earthquake

While far less common than in other parts of the world, South Carolina has experienced more than 200 minimal earthquakes since 2001. The Brevard Fault Zone and the Pax Mountain fault system cross into the northern part of Greenville County. In addition to these faults, the county is susceptible to earthquakes in other locations, especially near dams. According to the USGS, three earthquakes ranging from magnitude 2.2 to 2.5 have occurred in Greenville County since 1997. Most South Carolina Earthquakes occur in the Middleton Place-Summerville Seismic Zone in the low country. The most significant historical earthquake to occur in South Carolina was the 1886 Charleston/Summerville earthquake. That earthquake was the most damaging earthquake to ever occur in the eastern United States. In terms of lives lost, human suffering and devastation, this was the most destructive United States earthquake in the 19th century.

Flooding

According to the South Carolina State Hazard Mitigation Plan, historically Greenville County has the highest number of annualized losses and the highest number of flood-loss causing events. Greenville County is affected by four types of flooding: 1) Dam/Levee Failure; 2) Local Drainage Problems; 3) Flash Flooding; and 4) Riverine Flooding.

Flash flooding occurs when heavy rainfall in a short period of time accumulates in areas faster than the ground is able to absorb it. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, 24 flash flooding events have been reported in Greenville County, resulting in two deaths and over $3.3 million in damage.  

Riverine flooding occurs when an increase of water volume within a river channel causes an overflow onto the surrounding flood plain. Greenville County’s topography, combined with its humid, subtropical climate, makes it highly vulnerable to riverine flooding.

Greenville County has experienced over 112 flooding events since 1970 – three significant flooding events occurred between 2003-2005, resulting in more than $11 million in crop and property damage.

Hurricane / Tropical Storm

Although hurricanes are primarily thought of as a coastal phenomenon, inland counties may be directly affected by these storms. Inland flooding poses the greatest threat to life and property for Greenville County. Tornadoes, high winds, and heavy rain also accompany these storms.

In 1995, Tropical Storm Jerry dropped over 15″ of rain in some portions of Greenville County.

Infectious Disease Outbreak or Other Public Health Emergency

Infectious disease outbreaks or other public health emergencies may occur in Greenville County with little or no notice. Infectious disease can present special requirements for disease surveillance, rapid delivery of vaccines, antibiotics, or antiviral drugs, allocation of limited medical resources, and expansion of health care services to meet a surge in demand for care.

Severe Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Lightning

According to NOAA’s Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, Greenville County experienced 204 thunderstorm wind events resulting in one injury and $750,000 in damage, three lightning events resulting in one injury and $225,000 in damage, and 196 hail events.

Tornadoes in Greenville County occur most often in March, April, and September, but can happen at any time. Though they are typically weaker compared to tornadoes in other regions, damage can be extensive from strong winds and large hail. 

In April 2020, Greenville County was hit by three tornadoes. Two of them were EF2 tornadoes with estimated maximum wind speeds between 115-120 mph. Multiple homes were destroyed or majorly damaged and three people were injured. 

Severe Winter Weather

Snow, ice storms, and extremely cold temperatures periodically threaten Greenville County. Winter storms can damage property, create safety risks, destroy crops and valuable timber, damage infrastructure components, such as power lines, and have enormous economic impacts.

According to NOAA’s Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, Greenville County experienced eight heavy snow events, nine winter storm events, and 29 winter weather events.

In December 2005, a winter storm producing ice and snow across the Upstate of South Carolina, including Greenville County, caused almost $1.5 million in property damage due to power outages and housing unit damage from falling limbs and trees. The winter storm resulted in a Presidential Disaster Declaration in January 2006. 

Wildfire

As the population of Greenville County grows and residential developments continue to expand into forested areas, wildland urban interface issues increase and more wildfires threaten homes. According to the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC), 98% of the wildfires are caused by human activities. The leading causes are careless outdoor burning and arson. Wildfires can occur any time of the year, but the height of the wildfire season usually occurs from late winter through spring.

On November 9, 2016, the Pinnacle Mountain fire began in Pickens County due to an escaped campfire in Table Rock State Park. This fire is the largest mountain wildfire on record in South Carolina. The fire expanded into Greenville County on November 20, 2016 and burned a total of 10,623 acres, approximately 5,200 of which were in Greenville County. Preliminary cost estimates of this fire are over $4.5 million.

Communications Failure 

A communications failure is the severe interruption or loss of private and/or public communications systems, including but not limited to transmission lines, broadcast, relay, switching and repeater stations as well as communications satellites, electrical generation capabilities, and associated hardware and software applications necessary to operate communications equipment. These disruptions may result from equipment failure, human acts, (deliberate or accidental) or the results of natural or human made disasters.

Mass Power Failure 

A mass power failure is the loss of commercial power from a public utility company substation, subsidiaries or electric cooperative that affects 1,000 customers for a 24-hour period.

Active Shooter/Hostile Action

An active shooter is an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to continuously harm people. In most cases, active shooters use firearms, and there is generally no pattern or method to the selection of victims. Active shooter/hostile situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. An active shooter/hostile   situation could occur anywhere at any time with little or no warning and may result in mass casualties.

Civil Disturbance

Civil disturbances are often the product of increased tension caused by questionable social and/or political events, such as controversial jury trials or law enforcement actions.

Terrorism and Cyber Terrorism

There are many critical and high-profile facilities, high concentrations of the population, and other potentially attractive venues for terrorist activity that make Greenville County vulnerable to a variety of terrorist methods.

Cyber terrorism is a risk for all organizations, including Greenville County government. Though the county uses technology that consists of firewalls, proxy servers, and virus walls to provide a secure perimeter around the network, these can be ineffective when users fail to heed security requirements.

Hazardous Materials Spill or Release

Greenville County has the largest concentration of facilities reporting Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) in South Carolina. The county’s industrial capacity and the network of interstate highways and railways result in vulnerabilities to hazardous material releases from both stationary sites and transportation sources.

According to the South Carolina State Hazard Mitigation Plan, Greenville County has the most Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund sites in the State.

 

Nuclear Accident (Fixed)

A fixed nuclear accident is an incident that produces significant amounts of radioactive gases and/or particles which can be released from the facility. Effects can range from a minor release to a radioactive release that would force the evacuation of the general population within a ten mile radius of the facility.  Radioactivity from a release may enter the food chain through crops or dairy products out to a fifty mile radius of the facility. Meteorological conditions can have a significant influence on the size of the contaminated area.

Greenville County is within the 50-mile emergency planning zone of the Oconee Nuclear Station and is a host county for evacuees from Pickens County.

 

Pipeline Accident

A pipeline accident is the spillage or release, either intentionally or accidentally, of hazardous waste, toxic materials, or natural gas which may cause death or injury to the public and damage or destruction to property and the environment.

Both Colonial Pipeline Company and Kinder Morgan have gas/petroleum pipelines that run through the southern end of Greenville County.  

In June of 1996, Greenville County experienced one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history when 957,600 gallons of fuel oil spilled into the Reedy River.

Greenville County Hazards

wildfire
Here For You

Drought

According to NOAA’s Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, Greenville County has experienced 10 drought events.

Earthquake

While far less common than in other parts of the world, South Carolina has experienced more than 200 minimal earthquakes since 2001. The Brevard Fault Zone and the Pax Mountain fault system cross into the northern part of Greenville County. In addition to these faults, the county is susceptible to earthquakes in other locations, especially near dams. According to the USGS, three earthquakes ranging from magnitude 2.2 to 2.5 have occurred in Greenville County since 1997. Most South Carolina Earthquakes occur in the Middleton Place-Summerville Seismic Zone in the low country. The most significant historical earthquake to occur in South Carolina was the 1886 Charleston/Summerville earthquake. That earthquake was the most damaging earthquake to ever occur in the eastern United States. In terms of lives lost, human suffering and devastation, this was the most destructive United States earthquake in the 19th century.

Flooding

According to the South Carolina State Hazard Mitigation Plan, historically Greenville County has the highest number of annualized losses and the highest number of flood-loss causing events. Greenville County is affected by four types of flooding: 1) Dam/Levee Failure; 2) Local Drainage Problems; 3) Flash Flooding; and 4) Riverine Flooding.

Flash flooding occurs when heavy rainfall in a short period of time accumulates in areas faster than the ground is able to absorb it. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, 24 flash flooding events have been reported in Greenville County, resulting in two deaths and over $3.3 million in damage.  

Riverine flooding occurs when an increase of water volume within a river channel causes an overflow onto the surrounding flood plain. Greenville County’s topography, combined with its humid, subtropical climate, makes it highly vulnerable to riverine flooding.

Greenville County has experienced over 112 flooding events since 1970 – three significant flooding events occurred between 2003-2005, resulting in more than $11 million in crop and property damage.

Hurricane / Tropical Storm

Although hurricanes are primarily thought of as a coastal phenomenon, inland counties may be directly affected by these storms. Inland flooding poses the greatest threat to life and property for Greenville County. Tornadoes, high winds, and heavy rain also accompany these storms.

In 1995, Tropical Storm Jerry dropped over 15″ of rain in some portions of Greenville County.

Infectious Disease Outbreak or Other Public Health Emergency

Infectious disease outbreaks or other public health emergencies may occur in Greenville County with little or no notice. Infectious disease can present special requirements for disease surveillance, rapid delivery of vaccines, antibiotics, or antiviral drugs, allocation of limited medical resources, and expansion of health care services to meet a surge in demand for care.

Severe Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Lightning

According to NOAA’s Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, Greenville County experienced 204 thunderstorm wind events resulting in one injury and $750,000 in damage, three lightning events resulting in one injury and $225,000 in damage, and 196 hail events.

Tornadoes in Greenville County occur most often in March, April, and September, but can happen at any time. Though they are typically weaker compared to tornadoes in other regions, damage can be extensive from strong winds and large hail. 

In April 2020, Greenville County was hit by three tornadoes. Two of them were EF2 tornadoes with estimated maximum wind speeds between 115-120 mph. Multiple homes were destroyed or majorly damaged and three people were injured. 

Severe Winter Weather

Snow, ice storms, and extremely cold temperatures periodically threaten Greenville County. Winter storms can damage property, create safety risks, destroy crops and valuable timber, damage infrastructure components, such as power lines, and have enormous economic impacts.

According to NOAA’s Storm Events Database, from 2008 through March 2020, Greenville County experienced eight heavy snow events, nine winter storm events, and 29 winter weather events.

In December 2005, a winter storm producing ice and snow across the Upstate of South Carolina, including Greenville County, caused almost $1.5 million in property damage due to power outages and housing unit damage from falling limbs and trees. The winter storm resulted in a Presidential Disaster Declaration in January 2006. 

Wildfire

As the population of Greenville County grows and residential developments continue to expand into forested areas, wildland urban interface issues increase and more wildfires threaten homes. According to the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC), 98% of the wildfires are caused by human activities. The leading causes are careless outdoor burning and arson. Wildfires can occur any time of the year, but the height of the wildfire season usually occurs from late winter through spring.

On November 9, 2016, the Pinnacle Mountain fire began in Pickens County due to an escaped campfire in Table Rock State Park. This fire is the largest mountain wildfire on record in South Carolina. The fire expanded into Greenville County on November 20, 2016 and burned a total of 10,623 acres, approximately 5,200 of which were in Greenville County. Preliminary cost estimates of this fire are over $4.5 million.

Communications Failure 

A communications failure is the severe interruption or loss of private and/or public communications systems, including but not limited to transmission lines, broadcast, relay, switching and repeater stations as well as communications satellites, electrical generation capabilities, and associated hardware and software applications necessary to operate communications equipment. These disruptions may result from equipment failure, human acts, (deliberate or accidental) or the results of natural or human made disasters.

Mass Power Failure 

A mass power failure is the loss of commercial power from a public utility company substation, subsidiaries or electric cooperative that affects 1,000 customers for a 24-hour period.

Active Shooter/Hostile Action

An active shooter is an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to continuously harm people. In most cases, active shooters use firearms, and there is generally no pattern or method to the selection of victims. Active shooter/hostile situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. An active shooter/hostile   situation could occur anywhere at any time with little or no warning and may result in mass casualties.

Civil Disturbance

Civil disturbances are often the product of increased tension caused by questionable social and/or political events, such as controversial jury trials or law enforcement actions.

Terrorism and Cyber Terrorism

There are many critical and high-profile facilities, high concentrations of the population, and other potentially attractive venues for terrorist activity that make Greenville County vulnerable to a variety of terrorist methods.

Cyber terrorism is a risk for all organizations, including Greenville County government. Though the county uses technology that consists of firewalls, proxy servers, and virus walls to provide a secure perimeter around the network, these can be ineffective when users fail to heed security requirements.

Hazardous Materials Spill or Release

Greenville County has the largest concentration of facilities reporting Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) in South Carolina. The county’s industrial capacity and the network of interstate highways and railways result in vulnerabilities to hazardous material releases from both stationary sites and transportation sources.

According to the South Carolina State Hazard Mitigation Plan, Greenville County has the most Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund sites in the State.

 

Nuclear Accident (Fixed)

A fixed nuclear accident is an incident that produces significant amounts of radioactive gases and/or particles which can be released from the facility. Effects can range from a minor release to a radioactive release that would force the evacuation of the general population within a ten mile radius of the facility.  Radioactivity from a release may enter the food chain through crops or dairy products out to a fifty mile radius of the facility. Meteorological conditions can have a significant influence on the size of the contaminated area.

Greenville County is within the 50-mile emergency planning zone of the Oconee Nuclear Station and is a host county for evacuees from Pickens County.

 

Pipeline Accident

A pipeline accident is the spillage or release, either intentionally or accidentally, of hazardous waste, toxic materials, or natural gas which may cause death or injury to the public and damage or destruction to property and the environment.

Both Colonial Pipeline Company and Kinder Morgan have gas/petroleum pipelines that run through the southern end of Greenville County.  

In June of 1996, Greenville County experienced one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history when 957,600 gallons of fuel oil spilled into the Reedy River.

Phases of Management

Mitigation refers to measures that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or reduce the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. The mitigation phase differs from the other phases because it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk.

Examples of mitigation activities include establishing building codes and zoning requirements, installing shutters, and constructing barriers such as levees.

Preparedness activities increase a community’s ability to respond when a disaster occurs. In the preparedness phase, plans of action are developed for when disasters strike.

Examples of preparedness activities include developing mutual aid agreements and memorandums of understanding, training for both response personnel and concerned citizens, conducting disaster exercises to reinforce training and test capabilities, and presenting all-hazards education campaigns.

The response phase includes the mobilization of necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This would include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police, and ambulance crews.

Examples of response actions include activating the emergency operations center, evacuating threatened populations, opening shelters, providing mass care, emergency rescue, medical care, fire fighting, and urban search and rescue.

The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous state. Actions taken to return a community to normal or near-normal conditions, including the restoration of basic services and the repair of physical, social, and economic damages. 

Examples of recovery actions include debris cleanup, financial assistance to individuals and governments, rebuilding roads and bridges, restoring critical infrastructure and facilities, and sustained mass care for displaced human and animal populations.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.