Hurricanes | South Carolina Public Radio


"H" is for Hurricanes. The term “hurricane” comes from the West Indian word “hurrican,” which means “big wind.” Hurricanes are classified into five categories using the Saffir-Simpson scale based on maximum sustained winds, minimal central pressure, storm surge, and damage. Since 1900, fifteen hurricanes have hit South Carolina directly, but only three have reached major hurricane status. In 1954, Hazel moved inland near Little River with winds of 130 mph and a seventeen-foot storm surge. Five years later Gracie hit Beaufort with 125 mph winds. In 1989, Hugo made landfall near Sullivan’s Island with winds of 140 mph. and a storm surge of ten to fourteen feet. Perhaps the worst hurricane in South Carolina history was the “Great Storm of 1893” that ravaged the Sea Islands south of Charleston, killing more than 2,000.

Please note: This episode was recorded prior to Hurricane Joaquin, which hit South Carolina in October 2015 (referred to as the "1000-year flood"), and Hurricane Matthew, which hit South Carolina in October 2016 and caused extensive flooding in various areas of the state.  Hurricane Florence followed in September 2018 and caused flooding in many areas.