Hurricane Hugo Roared Ashore 31 Years Ago

Hurricane Hugo made landfall just after midnight 31 years ago just north of Charleston, South Carolina

It was on this night 31 years ago that Hurricane Hugo slammed into the South Carolina coast changing lives forever.

The storm formed near the Cape Verde Islands on September 9, 1989. On September 11th the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Depression #12 to a Tropical Storm. It’s name? Hugo. Hugo made landfall near Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina just after midnight on September 22, 1989.

Hugo produced the highest storm surge ever recorded on the east coast of the United States which was 20 feet in Bulls Bay, South Carolina near Cape Romain. Typical of hurricanes, the strongest wind gusts in Hugo were right around the eye which measured at 138 mph on a ship in Charleston Harbor. Winds even measured as high as 80 mph here in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte took a hard hit from Hugo. Countless trees crashed into homes and fell across power lines causing widespread power outages. It is estimated that 10,000-20,000 trees were knocked down as a result of Hugo.

Hurricane Hugo caused upwards of $10 billion in damage. At the time it was the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. “It is estimated 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.” – The National Weather Service