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Hugo

Two yachts caught during Hurricane Hugo.

© Tony Arruza/CORBIS

Florida and the Gulf of Mexico coast often bear the brunt of hurricane traffic in the U.S., but coastal dwellers to the north have also seen their share of storm-related destruction. Hurricane Hugo was one of the most fearsome storms to hit the Carolinas, causing 50 deaths and about $8 billion in damage in the U.S. and Caribbean [sources: The Weather Channel, Masters, National Weather Service].

The massive storm was classified as a Category 3 hurricane as it approached Charleston from Puerto Rico in late September 1989, but intensified to a Category 4 storm before making landfall at Sullivan's Island, S.C. With winds clocking in at 135 mph (217 kph), Hugo was the strongest storm to hit the east coast north of Florida since Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The storm also moved quickly -- at nearly a 30 mph (48 kph) clip -- causing significant damage in inland areas after passing north of Charleston [sources: The Weather Channel, Masters, National Weather Service].

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