Hurricane Hugo is the most intense hurricane to strike Georgia and the Carolinas in the last 100 years. In the 20th century, along the United States east coast (north of Florida) - no tropical cyclone has ever recorded a lower pressure, stronger winds, or higher tidal surges at landfall. The only hurricane that approaches Hugo's stature in the 20th century is Hurricane Hazel of 1954. It is likely that Hugo is the most intense tropical cyclone to strike South Carolina since the Great Sea Islands Hurricane of 1893.Hugo's track.
Areas affected Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, North Carolina, most of eastern North America
Hurricane Hugo churned through the same section of the Caribbean as Donna, but had weakened from its peak intensity by the time it smashed the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 17, and then struck a glancing blow to Puerto Rico with winds gusting to 160 mph the next day. Weakened temporarily by its Caribbean island assault, Hugo intensified significantly prior to landfall as it crossed the Gulf Stream off the Southeast U.S. coast. Hugo blew into Charleston, S.C., on the evening of Sept. 21, the autumnal equinox, with winds of 138 mph and a 20 foot storm surge on top of astronomically high tides. Hurricane Hugo's impressive intensity made it the strongest storm to strike the East Coast north of Florida since Hazel in Oct. 1954. Hugo devastated South Carolina's barrier islands and flattened the Francis Marion National Forest, to the north of Charleston. Its price tag hit $7 billion,
Although the worst of Hugo affected one of the more sparsely populated reaches of the South Carolina coast, it was necessary for residents in a much larger area to assess and respond to the threat. Forecast information provided by the NHC was good during most of the crucial response period, making decision making much easier than might otherwise have been possible. Inundation maps and evacuation clearance-time calculations produced in pre-storm studies proved useful and generally accurate. Computerized and graphical decision aids were utilized extensively and contributed an impression of high-tech performance and credibility to elected officials, but some users had dangerous misconceptions about the functions and capabilities of these forecast tools. There was very little use of forecast uncertainties in the decision process. Evacuations went well, evidenced in part by the low loss of life from flooding. However, in many areas prone to surges, evacuation was not as complete as is widely believed. Had Hugo's eyewall strayed and struck any of the major population centers within the predicted range, many homes would have been flooded with occupants still in them....Earl J. Baker, Florida State University, Tallahassee
Hurricane Hugo hit Guadeloupe in the Caribbean Sea with 150-mile-an-hour winds, destroying the resort town of St. François and taking 11 lives. The next day on Montserrat, the storm snapped the tops off all the trees and tore roofs off the houses. Here, it killed 10 more people and did $100 million worth of damage. It blew 90% of the houses in St. Kits, Nevis, and St. Croix to smithereens, and went on to leave the north coast of Puerto Rico a mix of smashed towns, fallen trees, and twisted power lines. Seven people died and 90,000 lost their homes as the hurricane did $300 million in damage. Hugo went on in a 2,300-mile swath, hitting Charleston, North Carolina (USA). Over half a million people fled their homes before the storm struck. 20-foot waves swept away boats, poured into the city’s streets, flooded the city hall, destroyed 30 major office buildings, and left 21 people dead. South Carolina alone estimated $5 billion in damage