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Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:57 AM

Hurricane Hugo hit 24 years ago.

Hurricane Hugo ate SC.



Hurricane Hugo was a Cape Verde hurricane that became a Category 5 (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) storm in the Atlantic, then raked the northeast Caribbean as a Category 4 storm before turning northwest between an upper-level high pressure system to the north and upper-level low pressure system to the south. Hugo made landfall just north of Charleston, South Carolina at Sullivan's Island around midnight September 22, 1989 as a Category 4 storm with estimated maximum sustained winds of 135-140 mph and a minimum central pressure of 934 mb (27.58 inches of Hg). Hugo produced tremendous wind and storm surge damage along the coast and even produced hurricane force wind gusts all the way into western North Carolina. In fact, Hugo produced the highest storm tide heights ever recorded along the U.S. East Coast.


Rainfall

Most buildings in downtown Charleston sustained significant damage, but the worst destruction occurred in beach towns north of Charleston such as Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms where the majority of homes were rendered uninhabitable due to the fact that this area received the strongest winds and highest storm surge. Many old trees were toppled by Hugo's winds, including those at Drayton Hall in West Ashley (image 1 / image 2 - images courtesy of Drayton Hall). Logging operations in the Francis Marion National Forest were permanently ended due to the storm felling more than 1 billion board-feet of lumber (approximately 70% of lumber-quality trees).

Fortunately, Hugo made landfall just north of Charleston as a track slightly farther south along the coast would have produced tremendous flooding in downtown Charleston. In addition, the relatively fast motion of Hugo diminished the amount of erosion along the coast.




http://www.erh.noaa.gov/chs/events/hugo.shtml

FEMA AND THE AFTERMATH
Senator Fritz Hollings was apoplectic about FEMA:
<snip>
"I called FEMA and said, 'We've got to have assistance down here immediately," recalled Hollings, now retired. "(Acting director Robert) Morris said they had to advertise in local newspapers for two weeks, and then state newspapers before they could deliver supplies. I said, 'Are you serious? We need help.' "
<snip>
It was seven days after Hurricane Hugo plowed through South Carolina before FEMA opened its first disaster center in the state. It was a bureaucratic mistake the agency would pay dearly for making. Hollings lit a fire under the federal government, calling FEMA officials "a bunch of bureaucratic jackasses." On the Senate floor.
<snip>
Hollings had used his clout to help the state before the storm even hit, calling on his old friend Colin Powell to send in Marines to help keep order, stop looting and help folks dig out of the mess -- despite the assurances from some state officials that the National Guard could handle it all.

Even the Marines became embroiled in the FEMA mess. The agency said it would not pay for chain saws used to cut away fallen trees because the Marines did not keep a log of each saw's serial number along with the particulars of where and when they were used.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was another critic of FEMA's slow response, and has often told the story of the response he got when he turned to a FEMA official to ask for advice. "You need to make sure you're accounting for all of your expenses," the bureaucrat replied.
<snip>
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20090921/PC1602/309219933

Clinton put James Lee Witt in charge and FEMA began to run better. Under Bush, it was folded into DHS and we know how well that worked.

I know there are still some people who would give FEMA a piece of their minds if they ever had to come back. It was that bad.

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Hurricane Hugo hit 24 years ago. (Original post)
Are_grits_groceries Sep 2013 OP
Cooley Hurd Sep 2013 #1
Are_grits_groceries Sep 2013 #2
Cooley Hurd Sep 2013 #7
darkangel218 Sep 2013 #3
Are_grits_groceries Sep 2013 #4
darkangel218 Sep 2013 #5
BootinUp Sep 2013 #6
JHB Sep 2013 #8

Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 07:16 AM

1. After Katrina and Sandy, Hugo seems mild...

I was in Greenville, SC for Hugo. We had rain and wind, but was far enough inland to miss the worst of it. I remember Hugo hung a Ralphie at Columbia and roared north. My ex was a reporter for the Greenville News, and they sent her to Myrtle Beach, so she missed the worst of it, as well.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 07:28 AM

2. Hugo seemed to be following people.

Many went inland to Columbia in the middle of the state. Many also went North to Charlotte. Hugo hit them all.

Don't tell people here that Hugo was mild. Katrina was horrible because the levees broke and it is barely above sea level. Sandy was bad because of the crowded area it hit. Nobody was ready for what happened.

SC was sparsely populated in comparison. The people here had a lot of trouble rebuiding their lives.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 12:31 PM

7. I never said Hugo was mild. But, by comparison to Katrina and Sandy...

...it wasn't as bad as those storms.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 08:02 AM

3. I live in FL , and so far this year no hurricanes, nothing

Not even a tropical storm . Fingers crossed it will stay like this.

Kind of strange though ..

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Response to darkangel218 (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 08:05 AM

4. Makes me nervous!

Gonna get hit by a left hook we never expected.
It's like Mother Nature is just biding her time.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 08:11 AM

5. I know, im afraid of the same.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 08:34 AM

6. Remember it well. I lived in Charlotte NC at the time.

Even though it was not rated a hurricane by the time it got there, it was damn close to one. Winds were still hitting 90 or more. Lots of damage and loss of power for a long time and scary.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Mon Sep 23, 2013, 12:50 PM

8. Let's remind people that FEMA had been under Reagan/Bush control for 8 years...

...by that time. But managing actual emergencies wasn't their priority.

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