1989

Hugo, the strongest hurricane of 1989, formed as a tropical depression southeast of the Cape Verde Islands on the 10th of September. The system intesified to a tropical storm about 1100 miles east of the  Leeward Islands on the 13th. On the 15th, Air Force and NOAA reconnaissance aircraft reached the hurricane several hundred miles east of the Leeward Islands. A central pressure of 918 millibars was reported and the estimated surface wind speed was 140 knots or 160 mph. This was Hugo's maximum intensity and earned the hurricane a category five rating. Hugo crossed Gaudeloupe on the 17th and St. Croix and the eastern tip of Puerto Rico on the 18th. Hurricane watches were posted on the 20th from St. Augustine, Florida to Cape Hatteras. Hurricane warnings were issued on the 21st from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Cape Lookout and were extended later that day to Oregon Inlet. But instead of swinging north as expected, the final landfall occurred on the 22nd at Sullivans's Island near Charleston. Based on reconnaissance, Hugo was estimated to have made landfall with a pressure of 934 millibars and an estimated surface wind of 120 knots or 140 mph. The strongest sustained surface wind measured was 104 knots (120 mph) from a ship anchored in the Sampit River just west of Georgetown. Storm tides along the South Carolina coast ranged from 8 to 10 feet in the Charleston-Folly Beach area to near 20 feet in the south end of Bulls Bay and down to 7 feet at Winyah Bay. The maximum rainfall reported was 8.10 inches at Mt. Pleasant. A 150 mile wide swath of 3 to 8 inches of rain spread inland across South Carolina and continued over western North Carolina, with a maximum of 6.91 inches reported at Boone.

 

Hugo

 

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