Hurricane Hugo ~ Thirty years ago...

September 22, 2019

Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston S.C. about 12:00 a.m. on September 22, 1989.  I was living in Charlotte at the time and when my brother called the evening of September 21 to check on things and make sure I'd brought in my patio furniture, I reminded him that Charleston was 200 miles from Charlotte and that the hurricane wouldn't stay together that long.  But as I was listening to the various weather reports that evening - and considered the glass french doors leading out to the  patio, I decided I probably should bring in everything from the patio.  And as the wind started blowing that night, I was very glad I did.  (Thanks, Scott!)

When the wind started blowing hard I followed the advice I'd heard and moved myself and the dog to the bathroom in the middle of the first floor.  At some point during that time the power and my phone went off.  When I came out to check on things once, the wind was blowing water through the siding of the house near the fireplace.

The eye came over Charlotte early in the morning.  I don't know what time it was, but it was getting light.  I went outside and I remember that I had a very eerie feeling.  Several of my neighbors were out and said they felt the same way.  Even Cooper (the dog) seemed anxious when we were outside.  It was perfectly still.  No wind.  After the eye passed, the wind and heavy rain really picked up again.

 

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Walking to a pay phone ~ September 22, 1989

When I went out in the morning after things had calmed down, I realized I wouldn't be able to drive anywhere.  So I walked to a shopping center about a mile away and used a pay phone to call the people I worked with in Statesville to let them know I wouldn't be in.  Even walking was a challenge at times because of all of the huge trees that were down.  When I think back about it now, I'm surprised I was able to get through on the pay phone.  (There was a long line.)

 

Driving around Charlotte was a challenge for quite awhile due to power outages and trees blocking streets.  But after a few days I set out with my camera.

 

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Trees and other debris were stacked up along the sides of the streets.  Some of it stayed there so long it was decorated with Christmas lights.

 

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Yes, there are houses under/behind those trees.

 

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Uff-da!

 

Photos ©Jane Hogan

 

A few of the memories that have come back to me as I've been looking at these pictures...

= The smell of outdoor grills cooking as everyone was trying to use the food from their refrigerators/freezers before it went bad.  It was one big neighborhood cookout.  Even after the food was gone, we used the grills for coffee in the mornings.

= My phone and electricity were out for about 2 weeks.  For the first few days, I'd walk around the house trying to turn on the lights.  And after the power came back on, I'd find myself walking around the house in the dark after I got home from work - forgetting I could turn the lights on I guess.  The first time the phone rang after 2 weeks, I nearly jumped out of my skin.

= I've been reminded that I didn't have a cell phone at that time - or a digital camera.  I've missed not being able to check exact dates for these pictures.  The first picture is the only one that I can date for sure.


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