News 2 Special: Hurricane Hugo – 30 Years Later

Hurricane Hugo

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – We’ve recovered, we’ve rebuilt, but the memories are as strong today as they were in 1989. These memories, along with several scars still dotting the Lowcountry landscape are the story of Hugo today.

For those who survived Hurricane Hugo, there is one question they all have an answer to: where were you?

We were here before, during, and after the storm – Rob Fowler, Leslie Lyles, Dan Ashley and the rest of the TV 2 team – the only voice left on the television when Hugo arrived in the dark of night.

It was a storm that changed the landscape and culture of the community forever.

“We were a part of something, and we got to see absolute genuine leadership,” said former WCBD anchor, Leslie Lyles. “Perhaps leadership that in our lives, we may never see leadership like that again.”

“I had to thread the needle between fear and panic and convince the citizens that they needed to get out,” recalled former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. “If you don’t get them out, they are going to die, and it is your fault.”

“It was just something that seemed at the time – this will be insurmountable,” said Lyles.

The aftermath was like something we had never seen before. But despite the pain, the loss, and the fear, the community pulled together – neighbors helped neighbors. The Lowcountry was resilient and many would say it came back better than it was before. Closer, stronger, hopeful.

In this 30-year special, we look back at Hurricane Hugo; the stories from those who survived the storm and hear from many leaders and former WCBD talent who helped the city overcome tragedy.

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