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Hugo as costly as 10 worst hurricanes before it

How big of a hit did Hugo deliver here and elsewhere?
– The mail wasn’t delivered from the Salisbury Post Office Sept. 22, 1989.
– Hugo felled enough trees to build 430,000 houses.
– The storm itself killed 13 people in South Carolina and one in North Carolina. But the aftermath may have been more costly. The American Red Cross put the death toll at 38 in South Carolina and 12 in North Carolina from the storm’s impact and post-impact things such as electrocutions and vehicle accidents.
– Hugo’s toll in dollars was greater than the total insured losses of the 10 most costly hurricanes prior to it.
– In South Carolina, there was one insurance claim for every four households. Hugo generated more than 693,000 insurance claims, and total insured damage in four states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico was $4.2 billion and $5.9 billion overall.
– Hugo marked the first time in the then 10-year history of the Federal Emergency Management Agency that it laid out more than $1 billion on a disaster.
– More than 258,000 households applied for FEMA assistance. FEMA disbursed $540 million in individual assistance, $236 million to repair storm damage to public infrastructure and $9.2 million to state and local governments in the Carolinas for hazard mitigation projects.
– Duke Energy (then Duke Power) used or replaced 8,800 poles, 700 miles of cable and wire, 6,300 transformers, 165,000 automatic splices, 37,500 meter sockets, 17,000 electric meters, 600 chainsaws and 5,500 rain suits.
– In Duke Energy’s service area of North and South Carolina, more than 696,000 customers lost power ó 44 percent of the total. In Charlotte, 98 percent of the customers lost power; in Rowan County, 70 percent. Some people didn’t have electricity until the third week after the storm.
– The longest reported official outage in the Piedmont was 18 days, according to Duke Energy.
– More than 9,000 workers, including 2,500 people from 16 neighboring utility companies, helped Duke in restoring service ó an effort that cost the company $62.5 million.
– The Red Cross and other volunteers provided 758,000 meals in the 30 days after Hugo.
– The storm postponed the fraud and conspiracy trial of television evangelist Jim Bakker.
– By Oct. 4, 1989, Rowan County was declared a disaster area.
– Duke crews here worked 16-hour shifts, and part of their non-stop work required the replacement of more than 300 poles in Rowan County.
– Rowan County had up to $25 million in damage; North Carolina, $725 million. The city of Salisbury’s cost of cleaning up approached $350,000, and the city lost 1,200 trees.
– Hugo’s cost to Rowan County government was $1.7 million.
– By Nov. 4, 1989, a toll-free federal and state disaster hotline had received 6,440 calls.
– The Red Cross estimated that 126,872 houses in North Carolina were damaged. In Rowan County, 353 mobile homes had damage, and 26 were destroyed; 1,714 single-family houses were damaged, 10 destroyed; 150 businesses damaged, and 33 had major damage; 281 public-owned buildings were damaged, two destroyed; 55 farms were damaged and eight suffered major damage.
– Hugo caused $126,390 in damage to Rowan-Salisbury Schools, including the loss of $14,000 worth of food and 175 trees blown down on school properties.
– FEMA paid the state of South Carolina $365 million: $29 million for emergency housing, $53 million in family grants, $234 million for public infrastructure and $7.3 million for hazard mitigation.
– FEMA paid the state of North Carolina $59.1 million: $1.97 million for emergency housing, $1 million for family grants, $56 million for public infrastructure and $1.9 million for hazard mitigation.
– The U.S. Small Business Administration approved 8,692 loans for $198.7 million to repair damaged or destroyed businesses and homes in South Carolina and to help survivors recover from economic losses.
– In terms of intensity, the National Hurricane Center considers Hugo the 11th most intensive hurricane at time of landfall. The top 3 have been the 1935 Florida Keys hurricane, Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
– The winds of Hugo were clocked at 200 mph on Sept. 21 as it approached the U.S. mainland. By the time it reached Charleston, S.C., the winds were still 135 mph. Here, winds were reported to be as high as 89 mph.
ó Compiled by Mark Wineka

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