FILE- In this Sept. 22, 1989 file photo, a sailboat lies in the street of Charleston after it was washed ashore by Hurricane Hugo. From evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from the coast to live TV coverage in the shrieking wind and rain, 1989's Hurricane Hugo might have been the first U.S. storm of the modern age. (AP Photo/Lou Krasky, File)

Hugo at 30: Remembering the first US modern hurricane

September 20, 2019 - 7:54 am

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — From evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from the coast to live TV coverage in the shrieking wind and rain, 1989's Hurricane Hugo might have been the first U.S. storm of the modern age.

When Hugo slammed into South Carolina just minutes before midnight on Sept. 21, 1989, the storm's 135 mph (217 kph) winds made it the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 20 years. Its $9.5 billion of damage made it the costliest storm in the nation's history, although now it ranks 18th.

The 20-foot (6.1-meter) wall of water that surged inland just north of Charleston is still an Atlantic Coast record.

Because of the evacuation, just 13 people died in South Carolina in Hugo. Officials say more people — 22 — died in the cleanup.

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