MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCBD) – This year marks 30 years since Hurricane Hugo made landfall in Charleston. We wanted to take a look back on that day through the eyes of our anchors here at News 2.
Video shows what the Edge of America looked like just after Hugo. There was nothing left.
Lowcountry lives were turned upside down on September 22nd, 1989.
“Looks like at least a hundred percent damage out here.”
The devastation was seen up and down Charleston’s coast.
“The devastation here is just unbelievable.”
At the time Hugo hit, Carolyn Murray was nearly a year into her first broadcasting job.
“I was working at WPAL AM radio station here in Charleston,” she recalled. “We hear that there is a storm of this size heading our way. We were all very concerned. We knew we wanted to stay on-air as long as possible.”
She continued, “Little did we know the intensity of this storm in that area out near Awendaw. We were in a trailer.”
The storm became too dangerous. “The trailer was rocking and rolling,” she remembered.
Carolyn’s boss sent her home where she would ride out Hugo.
“A tree came through the roof of my apartment. All of the windows of the apartment were shattered, I hid behind a sofa,” she said.
The next day; “…was absolute mayhem.”
“It ruined the whole economy of McClellanville. The whole town is based on the shrimp industry.”
No way to contact family and friends. Streets were blocked by debris; downed trees were seen everywhere.
“It was like the scene of a movie. Everything was out of order,” she said. “I had just come down. I was a freshman at the University of South Carolina.”
News 2 anchor Brendan Clark is from New York.
“I didn’t know a hurricane from a hailstorm coming from upstate New York,” he said. “I remember being at a fraternity party because classes were canceled and I was walking home that night and I was like ‘man it’s windy out.’”
He continued, “My professor left and came back to Charleston and he presented a slideshow to all of us. My jaw just dropped. I couldn’t believe the destruction I was seeing was a 2-hour scene from where I was sitting at that point.”
News 2 anchor Octavia Mitchell took shelter at a school in Awendaw.
“It’s a night that I will never forget,” she said. “Doors would just fly open.”
From wind and rain.
“We just grabbed towels and every piece of fabric that we could put around the doors. Very scary.”