Former Folly Beach mayor recalls heartbreak, devastation of Hugo

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - More than 20 years after Hurricane Hugo struck the Charleston area, the former mayor of Folly Beach is taking a look back on the storm that changed his city forever.

More than four out of five homes and businesses on Folly Beach were destroyed because of the storm.

On Sept. 21st 1989, Bob Linville had been the mayor of folly beach for just 3 weeks. One of his first actions as mayor was getting his citizens to leave.

"I wrote a letter out that said get out of Folly Beach now because were dead center," said Linville.

He ran off copies at city hall and brought them door to door, then had police drive around with bullhorns. He evacuated with his wife to the Pet Helpers site just a few miles away on James Island.

"Made no difference what was coming she's going where the pets were and you're going where she is," said Linville.

The next day, they went back to Folly and saw the absolute devastation.

"It was shocking to see the number of houses gone or down on the ground," said Linville.

Linville says at least one resident did stay behind and told him how the water rushed in and up.

"Then it came to my waist pitch dark, can't see my hand in front of my face, then it got up to my shoulders didn't know what to do or where to go, but ill never make that mistake again," said Linville, recalling the resident's story.

Linville says people started coming back the very next day after clearing the checkpoint on Folly Road. But for some, the devastation was too much to take.

In the years after the storm, there are still reminders of Hugo, like the water marks people drew on their homes.

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