Hurricane Hugo Strikes Charlotte

September 22, 1989

(As told to Rick Thurmond)
The very night that it struck, we were scheduled to do what would have been the regular eleven o'clock newscast, but the storm came in early enough to knock power off. We had to rig some generators and we would up doing a newscast that probably harkened back to the way it was in the late forties. There were no computer graphics available. As I remember I actually took a piece of paper and a black marker and drew the map.

It was one of, if not the most dramatic weather event that has ever happened here. For most people it was such an unexpected thing. The pattern is that usually when storms do reach inland, they lose strength very quickly. What made Hugo so very exceptional is it kept its potency, it kept its power, it just rammed through so much of the Carolinas with so much force.

After I had gotten home late that night, the brunt of the storm had died down, so I got some sleep. When I woke up, I just went out and started driving around, checking out what had happened. I was just blown away; I couldn't believe it.

Mike McKay was doing weather for WBTV when Hugo hit. Currently, you can hear him every weekday morning on WDAV FM 89.9.