“This was a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Sprinkle said. “I remember doing weather segments outside and you could hear trees falling in the woods outside the station. You could see the bright blue flash of transformers exploding, then you’d just see darkness as the power went out down the street.”
<p>Hugo blasted uptown Charlotte, damaging skyscrapers and leaving a path of destruction the likes of which had never been seen in the Queen City. </p>
The storm smashed windows in many of uptown's skyscrapers and even destroyed some buildings. According to the Hurricane Severity Index, Hugo was the second-worst storm in modern history after making landfall as a Category Four monster with wind speeds well over 130 mph.
As the storm made its way through the Charlotte metro, average wind speeds were still in the Category 1 range with gusts up to 90 mph.
After the storm passed, Combs traveled around to assess the damage, which was catastrophic. Billions of dollars in damage was done, with Hugo destroying 80,000 trees in one fell swoop. The storm is also reported to have claimed the lives of 37 people in the Carolinas.
<p>Crews worked for weeks on end to clear trees that were toppled by Hugo. An estimated 80,000 trees were destroyed during the massive storm. </p>
“Piles and piles of debris where homeowners had been trying to clear out their yards,” Combs said. “And a lot of the things that were really interesting to me were that neighbors were really helping neighbors.”
Crews worked for weeks to remove the debris directly caused by Hugo.