Hurricane Hugo

There’s lots of remembrance in the Lowcountry today in recognition of the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo.

You might be surprised to know that I wasn’t here for it.

My family moved to Charleston (specifically, Goose Creek) in the summer of 1988. But during the summer of 1989, my dad’s job relocated us to Dalton, PA (yes, I lived near Scranton before it was popular). We rented out our house (with the full intent of returning once my father was finished with his assignment in PA), and watched nervously as Hugo made a direct hit on the Lowcountry. Fortunately, just the fence took a bit of a hit, and we only lost one tree (and it evaded the house). We returned in the summer of 1990, and in the winter got a fun snowfall (that has unfortunately yet to really repeat itself).

I was a weather nut before Hugo, but I have to wonder what my attitude toward hurricanes would be today had I gone through it. I remember talking to a lot of my peers when we returned, and most said they slept through it. But others told tales of howling winds and trees snapping and general chaos — and the silence of the eye. The stories of the eye were the most fascinating to me, and are probably a driving force for me to try to experience what it’s like in that eerie calm, on the stage in a stadium of destructive power.

But somehow I might find that what happens prior to and after that calm might dissuade me.

4 thoughts on “Hurricane Hugo

  1. Patrick

    I have to admit, Jared, that when I read the opening lines, I had this brief moment of fear that your “not being here for it” meant that you weren’t born, yet. Then I immediately realized that you were older than 20. Still…I was ready to smack you there for a second for making me feel old! haha

    I was living with my parents in Columbia about a hundred miles inland, and we were without power for five days when Hugo came through. Sumter looked like someone had dropped a bomb. I never imagined a hurricane so powerful that it could do that much damage that far inland AFTER making landfall.

    If I were going to try to experience the eye of a storm, I think I’d want to be in a moving vehicle equipped with the latest doppler technology and a full tank of gas; once I made it “in,” I’d want to stay there until the storm dissipated. I figure that if I’d actually gotten through one wall of it to reach the eye, I would have been through enough! :)

  2. Patrick

    I have to admit, Jared, that when I read the opening lines, I had this brief moment of fear that your “not being here for it” meant that you weren’t born, yet. Then I immediately realized that you were older than 20. Still…I was ready to smack you there for a second for making me feel old! haha

    I was living with my parents in Columbia about a hundred miles inland, and we were without power for five days when Hugo came through. Sumter looked like someone had dropped a bomb. I never imagined a hurricane so powerful that it could do that much damage that far inland AFTER making landfall.

    If I were going to try to experience the eye of a storm, I think I’d want to be in a moving vehicle equipped with the latest doppler technology and a full tank of gas; once I made it “in,” I’d want to stay there until the storm dissipated. I figure that if I’d actually gotten through one wall of it to reach the eye, I would have been through enough! :)

  3. Katie Morse

    I was in NC for Hugo, though it struck west of where I lived (Charlotte versus Raleigh area).

    I did, however, live in the RDU area when Fran struck (and FLoyd, but that wasn’t as major for us).

    The eye passed over us, and though I slept through most of Fran (yup, I’m one of those people), I did wake up when the eye wall approached.

    I love thunderstorms. I always have. Fran was one MAJOR thunderstorm, full of transformers blowing, small tornados ripping around my neighborhood, and the absolute stillness once the eye hit.

    It’s eerie. Honestly, there’s no better word to describe it. You KNOW you’re in the middle of a huge storm, and you KNOW the eye wall will hit again, but it’s quiet.

    It was certainly an interesting experience, but not necessarily one I’d like to repeat again.

  4. Katie Morse

    I was in NC for Hugo, though it struck west of where I lived (Charlotte versus Raleigh area).

    I did, however, live in the RDU area when Fran struck (and FLoyd, but that wasn’t as major for us).

    The eye passed over us, and though I slept through most of Fran (yup, I’m one of those people), I did wake up when the eye wall approached.

    I love thunderstorms. I always have. Fran was one MAJOR thunderstorm, full of transformers blowing, small tornados ripping around my neighborhood, and the absolute stillness once the eye hit.

    It’s eerie. Honestly, there’s no better word to describe it. You KNOW you’re in the middle of a huge storm, and you KNOW the eye wall will hit again, but it’s quiet.

    It was certainly an interesting experience, but not necessarily one I’d like to repeat again.

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