27 Years Since Hugo
Hampton is located about an hour and a half south of Charleston. It also sits just east of Savannah, GA and just north of Beaufort and Hilton Head Island. Early in its forecast, Hugo was said to possibly be on track to hit the Beaufort area which would have been disastrous for our Hampton. My grandfather told harrowing stories about Hurricane Gracie which hit Beaufort in the fifties. The damage from that storm made it to Hampton. Hugo; however, continued up the coast sparing our area from major damage.
Hugo made landfall just after midnight on September 22, 1989, I remained wide awake in my mother’s bed listening as branches cracked and crashed, rain poured on the tin roof and the glass in our 97-year-old windows rattled and shook all night. The next day, there were downed power lines, uprooted ancient oak trees, and debris scattered about, but for our neighbors to the north, it was far worse.
|Garden City Beach|
As in most cases of major disasters in our country and especially in South Carolina, this disaster while devastating, truly brought out the best in people. Neighbors helping neighbors, other South Carolinians donating money, water, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc. to the coast, and then there was the leadership of people like Charleston Mayor Joe Riley who worked tirelessly with others to get his city back in working order. South Carolina’s resilience and strength truly became apparent to the rest of the country in the days after Hugo.
|Francis Marion National Forest|
|Garden City Beach|
With 160 mph winds and storm surges up to 20 feet, Hugo was the costliest and most damaging hurricane recorded in United States history until Andrew in 1992 (Florida). In South Carolina alone Hugo did 6.5 billion dollars in damage (16.6 billion by today’s standards), took the lives of 35 South Carolinians, made 60,000 homeless, and left 270,000 residents temporarily unemployed. Due to the extensive destruction of this storm the name Hugo was retired never to be used again in naming an Atlantic storm. In the 27 years since, thankfully we have not experienced a storm like Hugo in our area. Hopefully, we never will. There is always that risk, though. I guess some would say it’s the price we pay to live in such a magnificent and beautiful place.
Advertising & Marketing Manager
Garden City Realty, Inc.