Transworld President and Charleston native, Jim Ritter reflects on Hurricane Hugo.
The storm that changed the state forever.
Can you believe that it has been 30 years since Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston?
Hurricane Hugo made history when it hit landfall just north of Charleston, South Carolina at Sullivan’s Island around midnight on September 22, 1989, and remains the strongest and costliest hurricane in the history of South Carolina. At the time, Transworld electric was less than 2 years old and was in the process of moving from our Hanover Street office to our new office on Morrison Drive. In fact, we had just signed our new insurance policy, including flood and wind two weeks prior, and had scheduled to complete the painting, carpeting, and ceilings for the new office on Morrison the exact week Hugo was heading our way.
The night Hugo hit landfall, like many residents along the South Carolina coast, we evacuated the city. Once the storm passed, we returned back home to Charleston to find that our new office on Morrison had been completed flooded with water levels exceeding 4 feet. It was a blessing that our carpet installation got delayed because the floor was covered in mud and dead fish. There were also broken pallets scattered everywhere from the pallet manufacturer that was located down the street.
Luckily, our office on Hanover Street only suffered minor damages from the storm and we were able to open within a few days by running off a generator. Once we were fully operational, our main focus was to provide as much assistance as we could to get help our customers’ electrical systems back online with the local utility companies. The damage from Hugo was catastrophic and the America Red Cross estimated that over 227,800 residents experience power outages while 85% of Orangeburg and Bamberg Counties had no electricity and Marion County was void of all electrical services.
As you can imagine, our employees were extremely busy working anywhere from 14 -16 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first few weeks after Hugo. Within the first 3 weeks after the storm, we had completed over 600 service calls and never sent a single invoice. We were able to help hundreds of customers regain power after the storm and every single one of them paid and thanked us for our service. The destruction from Hugo was certainly devastating, but never in my life have I witnessed such compassion and concern for neighbors in need and willingness from the entire Lowcountry to help.
I am thankful that Transworld Electric was able to help restore power for some many in Charleston after Hurricane Hugo. Transworld Electric promises to always be there for the community and to work our hardest to keep families safe before, during, and after any storm that may hit the carolina coast.