Hurricane Florence: Only 3 Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall in the Carolinas

How rare is it for a major Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the Carolinas?

Only three have hit the region since 1851 and there has never been a Category 5 to make landfall in this area.

Florence will likely be added to this list, with catastrophic damage, according to WSB  Meteorologist Brad Nitz.

Hurricane and Storm Surge Warning has been issued for parts of the North and South Carolina coastlines.

>> Read more trending news 

Here is a look back on the three previous Category 4 hurricanes that left behind a path of destruction in the Carolinas:

Hurricane Hazel, October 1954

Hazel is the only Category 4 hurricane recorded to ever hit the North Carolina coast. 

The hurricane made landfall on Oct. 15, 1954, in Calabash, North Carolina, near the South Carolina border. There were winds estimated as high as 150 mph and Calabash had a storm surge of 18 feet.

The effects of Hazel extended to Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York before the storm moved into Canada. 

In North Carolina, Hazel was responsible for:

  • Killing 19 people and injuring hundreds
  • Destroying 15,000 homes and damaging 39,000 homes 
  • $163 million in damage in the Carolinas with $61 million in beach property damage

[READ: Hurricane Florence: Those who have lived through storms offer their advice]

Hurricane Gracie, September 1959

Hurricane Gracie made landfall as a Category 4 around noon on Sept. 29, 1959, near St. Helena Sound.

Wind were estimated at 150 MPH in the South Carolina coastal counties of Beaufort, Colleton and Charleston and downed many trees and power lines.

The storm made its landfall during a low tide, which limited the storm surge to under 12 feet. Gracie produced heavy rain and tornadoes, including a F2 tornado that killed 12 people in Ivy, Virginia. 

It is estimated that Gracie killed 22 people overall and cost $14 million at the time in damage. Charleston County suffered the most widespread damage.

[EXPLAINER: How does a hurricane form?]

Hurricane Hugo, September 1989

Huge made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina, at Sullivan's Island on Sept. 22, 1989, just after midnight. The Category 4 storm sustained winds of 135-140 mph winds. 

The hurricane had one of the highest storm tides recorded on the East Coast, with a storm surge between 18 and 20 feet. 

Hugo was responsible for 26 deaths in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The estimated cost of damages was $7 billion and Hugo remained the costliest hurricane to hit the United States until Hurricane Andrew in 1992. 

Data and statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were used in this report. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation & World

‘Magic: The Gathering Arena’ may finally get game right for video games
‘Magic: The Gathering Arena’ may finally get game right for video games

Despite pioneering the trading card game on paper, Wizards of the Coast has had a rough go of it in the digital space. “Magic: The Gathering Online” hasn’t had wild success mainly because of stability issues and accessibility. “Magic Duels” was better but it didn’t seem to take full advantage of the medium or capture...
These Android phones have security defects out of the box
These Android phones have security defects out of the box

At least 25 Android smartphone models — 11 of which are sold by major U.S. carriers — carry vulnerabilities out of the box, making them easy prey for hackers, according to a new study from security researchers. Researchers from the firm Kryptowire found 38 vulnerabilities in 25 Android phones, according to Wired. They range from being able...
T-Mobile gets rid of robot system for customer service calls
T-Mobile gets rid of robot system for customer service calls

SEATTLE — T-Mobile is getting rid of that robotic voice on its customer service lines, the company announced recently. The telecom said it would connect users straight to a team of customer representatives, unique to their own city, when they call customer service. “ ‘Your call is important to us’ are the six emptiest words...
CNET: The best gadgets for dorm or apartment for less than $50
CNET: The best gadgets for dorm or apartment for less than $50

If you have a child, a relative or maybe even a friend away at school for the first time, their adjustment to a new living situation might be smoothed by a bit of technology, and you don’t need to break the bank to accomplish that. Here are four of CNET’s favorite gadgets for the dorm or apartment that can be had for less than $50. &mdash...
How to get data from one device to another

Q: I copied some photos from my camera’s memory card to a newly created folder on my two-year-old Surface Pro tablet PC, using a USB card reader. I could see the photos after I transferred them, but when I restarted the PC the photos were gone. I haven’t gotten any “low memory” warnings. What’s wrong? — Angie LaMere...
More Stories