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30 Years Later: A Look Back At Hurricane Hugo Stats

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Hurricane Hugo: What started as a wave off the coast of Africa, turned into a hurricane that would rock the Lowcountry 30 years ago.

Hurricane Hugo caused billions of dollars in damage, unfortunately claimed many lives along the coast, and made history as one of the costliest storms in American history.

Hugo became a category 1 hurricane on September 14, 1989 with winds at 75mph. The system moved over warm water, rapidly intensifying into a category 5 Hurricane by September 15.

The powerful storm’s first landfall was in Puerto Rico as a category 3 with winds at 120mph. Hugo moved back over warm waters once again, rapidly intensifying to a category 4 hurricane.

An upper level high pressure to the north and a low pressure to the south help steer Hurricane Hugo towards to Lowcountry. This powerful hurricane made landfall along the Charleston coastline as a category 4 hurricane at midnight on September 22, 1989.

Winds were recorded as high as 135mph with a tide of 20 feet in Bulls bay.

Hugo destroyed over 26,000 homes across the Lowcountry, resulting in about $7 billion of damage. Once you factor in inflation, that total comes closer to $14 billion today, ultimately making Hugo the 12th most costly storm in US history. 

The hurricane took the lives of 27 people in South Carolina; most fatalities occurred as people were trying to clean up after the storm had passed.

This September will make 30 years since Hurricane Hugo made landfall, and scars can still be seen across the Lowcountry today.

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