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Hurricane Hugo was a very costly hurricane in the United States that caused massive devastation.
Hurricane Hugo was also known as the 'Monster Hurricane' by some US citizens. But the United States was not the only nation to experience the thwack of Hurricane Hugo.
Hurricane Hugo was a classic Cape Verde tropical cyclone. It was the first hurricane that was identified as a group of storms near the west coast of Africa. On September 10, 1989, Hugo rose from a group of thunderstorms and caused widespread devastation across the Caribbean and the United States. This cluster merged into a tropical depression. Later, it strengthened into a tropical storm and got the name, 'Hugo'.
It was the 11th of the tropical cyclones, a second major hurricane, the eighth named storm, and the sixth hurricane of the 1989 Atlantic hurricane period. Since 1979, Hugo was the strongest thunderstorm to strike the US east coast at the time.
It strengthened in 12 hours and was said to be the most destructive wind gust in American history. It caused a huge surge at the coast, and the wind gust penetrated 200 mi (321.86 km) inland, causing severe destruction.
The national oceanic hurricane was classified as a Category 5 hurricane, which is the highest rating on the Saffir–Simpson scale of measurement. Hugo continued to intensify; high winds were seen at a speed of around 160 mph (260 kph) for over five days. Within these five days, it made landfall on Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Saint Croix, and South Carolina, among other places. The hurricane knocked out the power supply and uprooted trees in the North Carolina mountains and hills.
Hugo produced a 20 ft (6 m) wall of water that slammed into South Carolina and the Virgin Islands. The hurricane had a threatening look on the satellite image as it carried 3000 tornadoes embedded within. The storm surge was responsible for extensive damage and the loss of lives.
Once you finish reading this article about Hugo the hurricane, why not discover more facts about the difference between a tornado and a hurricane and the causes of Hurricane Katrina here on Kidadl?
As Hurricane Hugo affected the sparsely populated region of the South Carolina coast, forecasts and warnings were issued by the NHC for early evaluation and evacuation. Tropical storm warnings were issued over several areas between September 15–22, 1989.
After the departure of Hugo from the Caribbean, the storm followed a northwesterly course. The first hurricane watch was issued on September 15 and was in effect for Saint Vincent and Barbados. Several relief agencies also gathered in Barbados to coordinate with response plans.
In Dominica and Guadeloupe, civil defense officials prepared shelters to house evacuees. Hospital beds were made vacant for possible hurricane victims by discharging non-critical patients. Martinique’s government opened 24 evacuation shelters throughout the island.
Warnings from the NHC gave ample time for preparation and the government to take emergency precautions. However, Puerto Rico became one of the largest evacuations in the territory's history by evacuating at least 30,000 people. The evacuees were brought to stadiums, schools, and government halls. State governments enacted necessary measures such as city curfews, declarations of emergency, and more.
The officials of South Florida also prepared supply and evaluation plans; 58 shelters in Miami, Florida, and 23 shelters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were readied by the American Red Cross. Boats and fishing equipment were moved from the coastal marinas. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, early on, was well equipped to speed up cleaning operations.
Beaufort County and Bulls Bay, South Carolina, implemented compulsory evacuation and declared a state of emergency. Eight coastal counties and 400 troops from the National Guard were ordered to assist in the evacuation process. However, the media and TV broadcasts played an important role in the preparation for Hurricane Hugo.
Hugo began as a tropical cyclone near the west coast of Africa.
On September 10, 1989, it gained intensity, and within two days, it reached full hurricane status with a speed of 74 mph (119 kph) while crossing the Atlantic. But with the presence of the lowest pressure, the storm turned towards the west-northwest.
On September 17, the wind narrowed towards the Caribbean, and the hurricane’s eye passed over Guadeloupe. With strong winds of approximately 137 mph (220 kph), the hurricane made three landfalls on September 18, including Saint Croix, Vieques, and Fajardo. It was the hardest hit in Guadeloupe, including Montserrat and the Leeward Islands.
In an encounter with Puerto Rico, Hugo weakened but was still dangerous because of its strong wind gusts. But, an upper-level low emerged over Georgia, generating a strong southeasterly steering flow in Hugo.
Strengthening from Category 2 to Category 4, Hugo passed over the Gulf Stream on September 21. The following day, the storm with sustained winds of 137 mph (220 kph) made landfall on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina.
After making landfall in South Carolina, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm and went to Charlotte, North Carolina. On September 23, Hugo's track continued across southeastern Canada and moved towards the northern Atlantic, where it was last noted at the eastern end on September 25, 1989.
Hugo passed with the rapid speed of sustained wind, destroying livelihoods, forests, and crops.
Moreover, with the loss of livelihood, looting and lawlessness reigned on the island of St. Croix. The island was patrolled by military police from dusk till dawn; 90% of all structures were destroyed, including banks, hospitals, electricity, phones, and the airport.
Evacuation flights for anyone wanting to leave for the mainland were made available with food, water, mobile hospitals, and more.
Hugo also destroyed the Olympic-size pool in the Virgin Islands.
The strongest storm tides also had a significant effect on basketball history-you should definitely read more about Tim Duncan.
The storm surge flooded the areas it visited, causing billions of dollars' worth of damage and destroying multiple homes.
The recovery and cleanup efforts were followed by such heavy rainfall. It was then recorded as the highest storm tide ever, responsible for more than 50 fatalities, including 21 in the United States, eight in Puerto Rico, and 24 in the Caribbean and South Carolina. Hugo not only killed people but also made more than 100,000 people homeless.
It was recorded as the costliest hurricane in the United States' history until then. The Hugo hurricane's strength caused a huge fall in the US economy. Hugo devastated the lives and economy of the US with $7 billion in damage and destruction in the US and $3 billion in the Caribbean.
It was the costliest and strongest storm until Hurricane Andrew arrived in 1992.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for hurricane Hugo facts, then why not take a look at the God of Hurricanes or 1900 Galveston Hurricane facts.
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