“I’ll wait for you, should I fall behind, wait for me” – Bruce Springsteen
On or about midnight on September 21/22 will mark the 31st anniversary of Hurricane Hugo sending a destructive path through Charleston and its neighboring beaches and towns.? For many, this was the most difficult period of their lives, overcoming life-threatening conditions, losing homes and trying to find ways to start again.? Over the next several months, the area had to find a way to begin again and bring back the Southern warmth and beauty it had known for hundreds of years.
After all was said and done, there were 27 fatalities in South Carolina from the effects of Hurricane Hugo.
Locals and citizens from neighboring towns and districts reached deep within their hearts and helped their fellow friends.? Bringing sand to the beaches, laying a foundation where a home once stood, providing shelter to strangers now without homes and giving food and warmth when needed.
We were and continue to be a resilient and proud area, who has overcome much adversity so the sun may shine each day and we can continue to say how proud we are of our home.
Hugo was an event we should never forget.? It was tragic, but in the end, we found a way to rebuild and become stronger than ever before.
We would like to take you back to those days, weeks and months and provide a pictorial remembrance of Hurricane Hugo, 28 Years Ago.
Remember our past and find strength in our ability to remain stable.
One of the most symbolic remembrance markers of this event is the Folly Boat.? This boat that remained after the path of destruction is today used to show our sense of community, one message at a time.
The next time you are at at White Point Gardens at The Battery, walk through the gates of the Battery Park Carriage House.? Just on the left you will see the water line damage from Hurricane Hugo and know just how powerful a hit we took and more importantly how we persevered and grew as one single community.
As the Carolina’s brace for Hurricane Florence, Charleston prays and prepares for what could be one of the most devastating hurricanes in decades.? Based on the current path, Charleston should be more fortunate then our neighbors up north.?? We also know we have been through enough to know that preparation is key.
Here is a gallery of some of the images of the Lowcountry preparing and bracing for Hurricane Florence.
We also stand in solidarity with our coastal neighbors in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
When something like this happens once every 8 or so years, we are going to take advantage.
Whether you are a child or child at heart, this was a fun few days for all of us (minus the traffic, freezing roads, icy sidewalks and store and business closures).
Aside from all that, we enjoyed the great outdoors with just a few more clothes than we are all used to.
Here are some of the creative ways we spend the snow holiday.
Today is a rare and monumental day in the Lowcountry.? Charleston been taking over by a blanket of snow.? This fun loving coastal Southern bed of warmth and charm is covered in ice and snow and many of us love it.? Our inner child has found a playground, at least for a day.
If you aren’t outside making snow angels and enjoying this Winter Wonderland, enjoy some of the great images from the Charleston Snow Storm of 2018
During the most recent regular meeting of the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association following the passing of Tropical Storm Irma, members agreed to put off discussion of normal business matters in order to hear three speakers representing the city: Mark Wibert, a newly appointed “resilience” officer (a half-time position), Mark Matzler from the Public Works Department and Mike Seekings, city councilman representing South of Broad and Harleston Village.
Mark Wibert spoke about Charleston’s flooding history, recent trends in rising sea levels and sunny day flooding, and big events natural disaster events including hurricanes.
Mark Metzler spoke about improvements this year in debris cleanup after the storm and efforts to do better storm drain maintenance.
Mike Seekings recounted his experience at the Battery at high tide as waves over washed the road. He promised to push ahead on mitigation, but as of today, it is not clear how.
The candid discussion of these three gentleman, affects of the last storm on Charleston and personal sentiment have many local residents worried about the future.
Local Charleston resident Susan Lyons, expressed her observations and personal thoughts on the recent neighborhood association meeting, stating:
“While Hurricane Irma inflicted catastrophic damage on islands and cities south of us, many on Charleston’s Peninsula south of the Crosstown once again found our houses, yards and crawlspaces flooded, needing new duct systems, worried about too many flood insurance claims and too much financial drain, and frustrated by the city’s response.
The Post and Courier’s editorial yesterday called for bold action now, business leaders are encouraging residents to call their state and federal representatives to ask for help, and neighborhood associations have begun to focus on the problem. Communication from the mayor and city council has been thin, but this week, Councilman Mike Seekings, who represents South of Broad and Harleston Village, reported that, despite his wife’s pleas, he went to the Low Battery two hours before and through the peak of high tide at about 12:30 p.m., on Monday, September 11, and captured in pictures what he called the “tsunami” of water — some of it from as far away as the Azores — as it crashed over the sea wall. At one point, he told Charlestowne Neighborhood Association members this week, the harbor water and the Battery “were at the same elevation.” No one has been willing to say, categorically, that the whole Battery was not in jeopardy of giving way one day.? Scary.
Mark Wilbert, the city’s half-time “resilience” officer, has reported that rising seas and intensified rain created high tide events on our streets 38 times in 2015, 50 times last year, and could number as many as 180 by 2040. That does not include severe storms.
We blame climate change, polar ice-melts, over-development, political myopia, bureaucratic buck-passing, and lack of money. But unless the Charleston community unites behind a dynamic and costly flood prevention and mitigation program now, homeowners and businesses will continue losing ground, literally, residents considering leaving town will sell and go, and our city will decline.
Progress has been made on some fronts. Improved check valves were said to have worked well during Irma until the Battery was breached by the surge at high tide, Mark Metzler of the city’s Public Works Department reported that cleanup of debris, storm drain maintenance, and damage surveys of individual homes all have been more efficient this year. And while work continues on the myriad of projects set forth in a 1984 plan, they are not even half finished. A new consultant is said to be coming to City Hall in January to review the entire city’s “remedies vs. threats,” a representative of the Dutch Embassy may pay a visit to Charleston to share that country’s wisdom, and some homeowners are looking into the feasibility of raising their houses.
But the big work — a new sea wall that extends to the Coast Guard Station, and raising Lockwood Drive to protect the Peninsula’s lower west side — appear to be a long way off. City officials displayed a map of the Charleston Peninsula early on before its west side had been developed on fill, and before many of its creeks and river fingers were paved over. Striking was the picture of where flooding occurred here — water rising in most of those watery same places. “Mother Nature wants her land back,” Councilman Seekings told the CNA audience this week.
Charleston will need all the help she can get to keep her at bay. All of us will need to pitch in.”
Just as Texas begins the process of rebuilding from Hurricane Harvey, Mexico is rocked by its worst Earthquake in a century, Hurricane Katia is moving into Mexico, and Hurricane Jose is on the tail of Irma, the Southeast braces for what could be one of the most destructive natural disasters in history.? Here in Charleston, it appears we may be spared from a direct hit, but our coastal area will feel the effects with heavy winds and rain and tornado like conditions.
As we brace for the next few days, our thoughts are with Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and beyond.
This is not new to Charleston, so businesses, hotels and homes are taking the proper precautions.? If you aren’t from these parts, there are an unnerving look of quietness in the Lowcountry as we prepare for the next 72 to 96 hours.
Here are some images of Charleston, SC preparing for Hurricane Irma.
This is a time that tests the hearts and souls of humanity.? Sinking in the tears of a tragedy, memories floating away right before your eyes, families without homes, loved ones lost and at this very moment, no answers to your prayers.? It is a time when the human condition kicks in and reminds us that we are blessed with the ability to overcome.
It is in these trying times, we could turn our heads and look the other way, but humanity doesn’t let us play that way.
In brotherhood and sisterhood, we stand before you Texas.
Charleston Strong sends its Love to Texas until the last home is rebuilt.
As Hugo and Matthew linger behind us, we know we can never forget.? They are constant reminders that material value can be lost in a moment, but the love of family and friends and their unconditional support is something that never wavers.
We have seen images and watched the stories of this past weekend, but they don’t even tap into the emotional and physical trauma you are facing right now.
Many without homes
Unable to find food and shelter
Lives built from scratch, now but a fleeting memory.
The effects of Hurricane Harvey will remain for the rest of your lives.? That fact is true.? So too knowledge that the kindness of others will help you in rebuilding your lives.
For some, it will be days, weeks, or even months before that emptiness in the pit of your stomach fades awa
We know, we relate and we care.
Remember this:? Strength is found in the heart.? It is in the power you find in the worst of times. It is the generous hand of a stranger.? It is the financial support from strangers hundreds of miles away.? It is knowing that at the exact moment you feel like giving up, so many will come to your rescue.
That is the poetry of tragedy.
We never want to go through this type of event.? We hope for the best and expect the worst.? For so many, this weekend was the worst.
For those that lost, we mourn with you.
For those looking for answers, we pray with you.
For those in need of support, we stand with you.
To all the people in Texas who have and continue to suffer from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we stand strongly with you here in Charleston as you take the first steps toward recovery.
The official 2017 S.C. Hurricane Guide will be released via newspaper subscription and rack sales Thursday, May 25, in the Georgetown County Chronicle and the South Strand News; Friday, May 26, in the Georgetown Times; Sunday, May 28, in The Beaufort Gazette, the Charleston Post and Courier, the Hilton Head Island Packet, The State, the Sumter Item, the Florence Morning News, the Orangeburg Times and Democrat, the Myrtle Beach Sun News; and Wednesday, May 31, in Beaufort Today, Bluffton Today and the Jasper County Sun Times.
Beginning June 1, the Hurricane Guide will be available at all South Carolina Welcome Centers, at any Walgreen’s store statewide and at SCDMV offices in Bamberg, Beaufort, Bluffton, Charleston, Conway, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Kingstree, Ladson, Lake City, Little River, Mullins, Moncks Corner, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, North Charleston, Saint George and Varnville.
Over the last weeks, all eyes have been on Hurricane Matthew with early projections indicting a direct land hit on Charleston, South Carolina and potential Category 4 catastrophic levels of damage.
From the onset we were no longer IOP, Folly Beach, Mount Pleasant, James Island, Daniel Island or North Charleston. We once again became one United community unified the only way we know how; Charleston Strong
Without panic, without fear, we gathered and braced. With a wonderfully organized evacuation and preparation plan we took all the necessary measures to secure our home and preserve our beauty.
Temporarily the aesthetics of our Southern elegance were replaced with wooden panels with spray painted messages urging Matthew to go away.
As the eye moved north, the rest of the country eagerly waited with us. During those trying hours we shared. We shared information, images, and warnings, but mostly importantly, stories of the human spirit.
At the heart of any tragedy is the will of humanity to reach into the core of its soul and find the best in each other.
We once again found our best. As the winds continue and we wave the eye goodbye, we will begin the process to clean, return home, open up businesses and schools, and restore peace once again in our pleasant Southern home. ?Power remains out for many and safety remains a number one priority, but over the horizon we sense a beautiful tomorrow.
We only have to look back one year ago at the Thousand Year Flood and sixteen months ago at Mother Emanuel to remember how our faith has been tested. Once again, I can say with a smile, we have overcome adversity to see the sun rise once again.
The the citizens, families and all those that kept us in their prayers we thank you