By Betsy Crick
Photo courtesy of National Weather Service / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Around midnight on September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall just north of Charleston, at Sullivan’s Island. This Category 4 storm had estimated maximum winds of 135-140 mph.
At the time, Hugo was the strongest storm to strike the U.S. in the previous 20-year period and was the nation’s costliest hurricane on record in terms of monetary losses, with approximately $10 billion in damage. It is estimated by NOAA that there were 49 deaths directly related to the storm, 26 of which occurred in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Hugo produced tremendous wind and storm surge damage along the coast, and even produced hurricane force wind gusts several hundred miles
inland into western North Carolina. In fact, Hugo produced the highest storm tide heights ever recorded along the U.S. East Coast, around 20 feet in Bulls Bay, S.C., near Cape Romain.
Because of Hugo’s extreme devastation, the name Hugo was retired and will never again be used for an Atlantic Hurricane.
The anniversary of Hugo is a time to reflect on the power of mother nature and to make sure you are prepared for potential natural disasters in the future.
Here are some tips to prepare for a hurricane event:
- Have an emergency supply kit ready.
- Make an evacuation plan and emergency kit for your family pets.
- When in doubt, throw out food and water that may be contaminated due to flood waters and loss of refrigeration.
- Don’t hesitate if you are ordered to evacuate.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, please visit DHEC’s website.