Forecasters: Hurricane Hugo was not the worst-case scenario for the Lowcountry

Hurricane Hugo

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Hurricane Hugo was a devastating, historic storm for the Lowcountry, but experts say while that storm destroyed parts of the area, it still could have been much worse had that storm shifted just a little bit to the south.

The pictures tell the story of a devastated city in the aftermath of Hugo. 

“The main part of the storm, the eyewall went right over Sullivan’s Island. So, the beaches to the north like Isle of Palms, Dewees and up into Cape Romaine were just devastated,” said Doug Marcy a Coastal hazard specialist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “It basically flattened the entire beach profile. Took out a lot of first and second row homes and destroyed our dunes.” 

Marcy ran a few “what if” possibilities, to help the Lowcountry plan for the worst-case scenario. He found that Hurricane Hugo could have been worse for the area.

The upper right quadrant of the storm contains the strongest winds, the highest threat for tornadoes and highest surge.

Hurricane Hugo made landfall on Sullivan’s Island- putting the strongest part storm north from there.

Meteorologist Bob Bright with the National Weather Service in Charleston reminds to remain on high alert and not to get complacent.

“Even though it was certainly pretty devastating for a lot of the area, especially if you live south of the peninsula like James Island, Johns Island down toward Kiawah, you didn’t experience category 4, or true category 4 conditions,” he said.

 There is no way to predict with complete certainty how a storm will impact an area, or how the season will play out. Bottom line: we live in a vulnerable area and every storm comes with its own potential impacts. The best and safest option is always be prepared.  

Meteorologist Michael Brennan with the National Hurricane Center has a clear message: “Don’t Let Hurricane Hugo kill you 30 years later.”

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