For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
September is a bittersweet time of year if you happen to live in this latitude and special part of the world. Many of us who were in Charleston on the night of Sept. 22, 1989, when Hurricane Hugo came ashore, still think of September as the most dangerous month of the year for destructive tropical storms.
The southern wall of Hugo’s eye passed near the Cooper River bridges and proceeded inland before curving northwest, wreaking terror and great damage along its path. Charleston and the islands east and south of the eye got off a bit lighter than the Isle of Palms and regions to the north. Why? Well, think of the eye as a tightly wound, small circle of calm surrounded by the storm’s most powerful winds that, in the northern hemisphere, spin counterclockwise.
As Hugo neared landfall, its stronger winds pushed storm tides ashore to the north of the eye. South of the eye, its slightly weaker winds tended to push water in the opposite direction.
If you happened to experience a brief period of calm during the night of September 22 and went outside to look up as Hugo’s eye passed overhead, you would have seen a small circle of clear sky and stars, a most remarkable sight.
With the great advances that have been made in the science of tracking storms and predicting their probable movements, there is not much excuse if you get caught in one at sea, or on land.
Hugo caused 27 deaths in South Carolina. It came ashore as a Category 4 storm with 140 mph sustained winds and recorded gusts of 160 mph. It was the most powerful storm to strike the East Coast of the United States since 1898. It caused $1.97 billion in damage and, at the time, was the most damaging hurricane ever to hit the U.S. mainland.
Since 1989, other storms have been costlier, and Hugo now ranks only 17th in that category. Whether people who keep track of these things do so in terms of constant dollars, I am not sure. Regardless, Hugo was one hell of a storm.
I had more than a foot of water in the main floor of my house on James Island. It cost a bit more than $100,000 to repair, about twice what it cost me to build the house in 1973. I’ve never forgotten the name of my USAA adjuster. It was David Healer, and a healer he certainly proved to be.
This September we have another type of storm brewing — a political one.
In less than two months, voters will go to the polls all over this fair land to decide whether Republicans should retain control of the House and Senate or give the other fellas a chance to screw things up and, while they’re at it, give the president a wake-up call. Should the GOP lose one or both chambers, “it’s the economy, stupid” may no longer be what political “scientists” hang their hat on when election time rolls around again.
My guess is that Democrats will take the House and Republicans will narrowly keep the Senate. That will give Democrats enough votes to impeach, but not nearly enough to convict President Donald Trump. I think that were there anything, anything at all, to tie the president to Russian “collusion” and messing with our electoral system, evidence of that would have surfaced many months ago. The responsible party for the Hillary Clinton debacle in 2016 is (drum roll, please) — Hillary Clinton herself.
Next time, Democrats, nominate someone less deplorable and the brass ring could be yours again.
R. L. Schreadley is a former Post and Courier executive editor.