Top 5 hurricanes to hit South Carolina

September 13, 2018 GMT

With Florence taking aim at a possible landfall in South Carolina, here is a list of the Top 5 Hurricanes to hit the state:

1. Hurricane Hugo

September 21, 1989

Hugo made landfall near Sullivan’s Island with 120 knot (138 mph) winds. It continued on a northwest track at 25-30 miles per hour and maintained hurricane force winds as far inland as Sumter. Hugo exited the State southwest of Charlotte, N.C., before sunrise on September 22. The hurricane caused 13 directly related deaths and 22 indirectly related deaths, and it injured several hundred people in South Carolina. Damage in the State was estimated to exceed $7 billion, including $2 billion in crop damage. The forests in 36 counties along the path of the storm sustained major damage.

Near Isle of Palms, South Carolina there was a gust over 160 miles per hour and a storm surge 20-plus feet. At Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, a wind gust was measured 109 mph.

The iconic Ben Sawyer Bridge was damaged so severely that pictures of it tilting into the waterway became an iconic image of the storm.

Grocery store bread shelves stood barren, and homes turned into piles of splintered wood almost overnight. Hugo left behind an estimated $13.5 billion of damage on the U.S. mainland.

2. Hurricane Hazel

October 15, 1954

Hazel made landfall near South Carolina / North Carolina border, winds at Myrtle Beach reached 106 miles per hour, loss of life 1, ocean front property from Pawleys Island, South Carolina northward destroyed. Storm surge 17 feet. Georgetown, South Carolina received 8.80 inches of rain in 24 hours.

Nearly 80 percent of waterfront homes were destroyed in Myrtle Beach as well as two piers. In North Myrtle Beach, a three story hotel was destroyed. In addition, 40 homes were destroyed in Pawley’s Island and an additional 75 homes were destroyed at Cherry Grove Beach.

3. Hurricane Gracie

September 29, 1959

Gracie made landfall at St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station recorded a gust of 138 miles per hour. Heavy flooding from 8 inches of rain (Walterboro, 8.30 inches in 24 hours).

Hurricane Gracie made landfall at St. Helena Island, but nearly all of the Lowcountry felt Gracie’s wrath. Homes were uprooted. The waterfront was left “in shambles,” according to news reports from The Charleston Evening Post.

On Sept. 30, the United States Coast Guard had to evacuate people stranded in both Charleston and Savannah. According to a Beaufort Gazette article published on the 30-year anniversary of the day Gracie struck the Lowcountry, the storm cost Beaufort and Jasper counties a combined $1.5 million in damages.

4. Unnamed 1940 Storm

August 11, 1940

This storm made landfall near Beaufort, South Carolina, winds 105 miles per hour, loss of life 34. Beaufort, South Carolina received 10.84 inches of rain in 24 hours.

A tide of 13 feet was measured along the coast of South Carolina and the hurricane scored $1.5 million in damage in Charleston, South Carolina, while Savannah received $1 million in damage. Damage to the coastline totaled more than $3 million.

Charleston received more than 12 inches of rain in the 24-hour period.

5. Unnamed 1893 Storm

August 28, 1893

This storm made landfall near South Carolina / Georgia border, winds estimated at over 120 miles per hour, loss of life estimated at more than 2,000 and thousands were left with nothing.

Clara Barton, the American Red Cross founder who launched a 10-month relief effort on the islands said some 35,000 people lived on the islands.

It would be called The Great Sea Island Storm as the storm’s strength was so great that a tidal wave that struck at high tide near Hilton Head consumed entire islands. It also spun destruction from Jacksonville, Fla., into New York.

Sources: The Post and Courier and South Carolina State Climatology Office