Hugo still one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Hugo still one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history

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(Source: NOAA) (Source: NOAA)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It's been 24 years since South Carolina experienced one of the costliest hurricanes in its history.

The storm caused approximately $7 billion in damage and was blamed for 49 deaths, 26 of which occurred in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Hugo made landfall just north of Charleston at Sullivan's Island around midnight September 22, 1989 as a Category 4 storm with estimated maximum sustained winds of 135-140 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Hugo was so large, western parts of North Carolina sustained damage due to the storm surge, officials said.

Most buildings in downtown Charleston sustained significant damage, but the worst destruction occurred closer to the landfall in beach towns north of Charleston such as Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms where the majority of homes were rendered uninhabitable, according to the National Weather Service.

Many old trees were toppled by Hugo's winds and major logging operations in the Francis Marion National Forest were permanently ended due to the storm, officials said. .

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division estimated that if a storm with a similar track and intensity as Hugo struck in 2009 there would be $8 billion in damage in the state with more than 21,000 homes destroyed, according to the National Weather Service.

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