Hurricane Hugo made landfall north of Charleston Harbor on the South Carolina coast the night of Sept. 21, 1989, affecting an estimated 1.8 million people. Presidential declarations were issued for 24 counties seeking federal disaster assistance. Hugo arrived just before midnight with estimated maximum sustained wind of 138 miles per hour. The eye of the Category 4 hurricane was 30 nautical miles wide, with storm surge flooding 15-20 feet above normal. It cut a path through the state just north of Charleston and continued inland to Lake Moultrie and west of Sumter, through Chester and York counties and by 5 a.m. was in the area of Charlotte, N.C.
In its wake, Hugo left:
- 13 directly related deaths, 22 indirect deaths, and several hundred injuries
- $6.5 billion in damages
- 264,000 evacuated from their homes in eight counties
- 270,000 temporarily unemployed
- 60,000 left homeless
- 54,000 state residents seeking disaster assistance