Twenty-one years ago, we woke up to a cataclysm. More than 50,000 people were homeless, nearly half the state had no power and more than half was declared a disaster. Hurricane Hugo.
This year — so far — four storms just as menacing have missed by a hair.
Hurricane Earl came “uncomfortably close,” in the word of Mark Malsick, S.C. Climate Office severe weather liaison, passing offshore within 300 miles packing 135 mph winds. Earl followed Hurricane Danielle the week before, which was on a path for the Carolinas before getting turned out to sea.
Last weekend, two storms offshore became just as powerful at the same time — the first time that’s happened this far north in the Atlantic since 1926. Hurricane Igor peaked at 150 mph winds; Hurricane Julia peaked at 135 mph winds.
Meanwhile, forecasters are tracking another storm in the relentless waves coming off Africa that formed Earl, Igor, Julia and Danielle. It’s expected to become a tropical cyclone within two days.
Hurricane Hugo isn’t history; it’s happenstance. That might be the lesson to be learned on its 21st anniversary. A little bit of wind blows the wrong way, and the Lowcountry could have been struck by any of four “Hugos” already this year.
Read more in Tuesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.