Hurricane Hugo – 28 years ago today…

Hurricane Hugo – September 21, 1989 

Hurricane Hugo. I will never forget that night (even though it was 28 years ago). We were watching the weather. Leslie Lyles (newscaster) was saying through blinking eyes “Get out, get out now!” – the problem is that evacuation started much sooner, so we decided to hunker down. Shortly thereafter an eerie sound and the power went out. And so it began… Bridget, me and her dog “Buster”. We gathered any supplies that we could possibly need (flashlight, radio, batteries, water, staple gun, plastic). At that time the hurricane was a Category 5 – as strong as it gets. We decided to ride it out in the hallway – no windows, so that was good, we piled blankets and pillows. In the bedrooms off that hallway we moved large pieces of furniture in front of the windows. All bedroom doors were closed. We had the radio on and there was one radio station that remained on for most of the night – it helped to be connected with another entity so much!

The wind was strong (Category 4 when it hit land) and we were there in the hallway in the dark listening to what we thought were large limbs snapping (the wind underneath the doorway was incredibly strong). One after another. We woke up the next morning after actually sleeping after the eye moved in. We moved the plastic off the window and peered out. OH. MY. GOD. with both said in unison.

The sounds of snapping branches were extremely huge pine trees, not branches. Several houses had pine trees sliced right through – cars with trees, trees everywhere.

We had one tiny leak. It was a miracle.

In the coming days we signed up with the Red Cross to help in any efforts we could. They had us ride out in the country to give them notice on where they needed to send people for help. It was a telling time. My place of employment had no roof, but I was luckily transferred to another location after a few weeks.

While driving to that far away location – there were boats in the middle of the interstate. Blown right off the racks they were on. Traffic lights were eye level, hanging with wires everywhere. Gas stations coverings were toppled – And because we couldn’t watch TV or hear any real news we had no idea how bad it was until much later. Two weeks with no water, electricity or phone. We learned some tough lessons like you can’t write a check in a store, even though you waited in line almost an entire day and were able to grab a few things that weren’t spoiled (they could only let a few people, escorted, in at a time, no lights, no power, etc.) – no gas, nowhere to eat, nothing… anywhere.

We were fortunate to have a friend not too far away, so we could take a cold candle-lit shower – also working with the Red Cross they found a way to make coffee in the morning, bless them! Within a week a pizza place opened and we were set.

Thanking our lucky stars.

I’m writing this as Irma may be barreling this way. I pray not.

This is a great (short) video of what Charleston looked like after Hugo. Some videos and news stories say 9/21 and some say 9/22 – power went out around 8PM and it hit hard around midnight… Click HERE to watch a short video and see what Charleston looked like after Hugo hit in 1989.

Image (and more info) via

Catch you back here tomorrow!

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