The Charleston Coast and Hurricanes

I am often asked by out-of-town visitors and potential home buyers about hurricanes and how often they hit the Charleston Coast.  This is a fair question since we are on the coast and do share a hockey team with our northern neighboring state named the Carolina Hurricanes. There is also the memory of Hurricane Hugo and it’s devastation to the area 24 years ago. Yes, hurricanes do roll through the low country on occasion, but let’s look at the facts.


Hurricane Hugo – 1989

Since 1900, there have only been 3 major hurricanes. They are Hurricane Hugo (1989), Hurricane Gracie (1959), and Hurricane Hazel (1954).  For a hurricane to be major it has to be a 3, 4 , or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale (see below).  Hurricane Hugo was considered the most devastating of the three,  closing island’s down such as the Isle of Palms by flattening everything in it’s path.  Island residents were unable to get to their homes and some snuck in by boat to get belongings.  Studies show on average that a hurricane will hit the South Carolina coast once every 7 years, and a major hurricane every 25 years.


So, where do they go?  Well, as I said before, they do come here on occasion. But studies  show that South Carolina is not considered to be one of the more hurricane prone areas and it’s coastal regions less likely to receive the brunt of a hurricane.  Typically, we find when hurricanes develop off the Caribbean Coast and move north,  they bend either north-east toward the Outer Banks area, head straight at Florida, or take a turn toward the Central Gulf Coast. Doing some research I found this report listing the 10 worst spots for hurricanes (South Carolina did not make the list).

Hopefully this will give you a little piece of mind when considering moving to or buying a vacation home in the Charleston area or anywhere else on the South Carolina Coast.

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