SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCBD) – The 30th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo’s landfall in the Lowcountry is coming up this September. Throughout the coming months, we are looking back at how the storm impacted our area.
The Town of Summerville was no exception to the storm’s destruction.
“Oh, it was awful. When I came into Summerville I remember seeing National Guard at Main Street and Richardson directing traffic, weaving back and forth on Richardson Avenue trying to get to my home,” said Summerville-Dorchester Museum historian and retired pediatrician, Ed West.
He recalled coming back into Summerville after spending the night working at Trident Hospital during the storm and said it was the worst hurricane damage he had ever seen in the area.
“When I finally got to my home and couldn’t get up the driveway because there was a big tree down the entire length of the driveway,” he recalled.
He said several town residents went through – and lost – a lot during the storm.
“I realize that there was a lot of suffering going on around me. We were spared, my family was spared but my neighbors got hit hard – they had a couple of trees through their roof.”
Clean up took months and power was out for weeks.
“For two weeks where we lived we were without electricity.”
When it came back on, West said it was just wonderful. “I was standing in my yard and all of the sudden all the lights in my house went on and I just cheered.”
Summerville is known as the Flowertown in the pines. Unfortunately, some of the worst damage caused by Hurricane Hugo here was the destruction of many, many trees and made it very difficult to get around.
“The trees were just gone. It would break your heart to see,” he said.
Despite all the damage and losses, he said there were still some good moments. In the days after Hugo, some neighbors came together and got to know each other a little bit better.
“There was a lot of ‘why don’t you come over tonight, we’re cooking what we’ve got in the freezer’ and we were eating pretty well there for a while… people were out barbecuing whatever they had,” he said. “I think there were bright moments of people encouraging each other which was great.”