Saturday night marks the 24th anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Hugo, a category 4 storm that devastated the Lowcountry.
McClellanville was one of the hardest hit areas during that storm. Rutledge Leland's seafood store was completely destroyed by the storm.
“Everybody talks about what was it like before Hugo and what was it like after Hugo, Leland said. “Everything is different now.”
The “before” pictures show a seafood store crowded with shrimp boats and cars waiting to get the freshest seafood. The “after” pictures, however, show a plot of land filled with weathered wood and mangled metal.
“These buildings were just torn up. There were boats scattered through the parking lot here. Some were reparable, most of them weren't. The docks were completely torn up. We just completely incapable of going to back to work like we were used to doing,” Leland said.
Leland said it took nearly three years for his store to return to normal. During the years of clean up, Leland still remembers the smells and sights of the devastation that devoured his neighborhood. But, in addition, he also recollects the contagious feeling of community that blanketed the town.
“As time went by, everybody came together and started working hard to put things back together,” he said. “Six to 12 months we were sort of back to normal, but I don't think we'll ever be back to normal after going through that.”
According to the Emergency Management Division, it took until 2006 for the state to consider everyone officially recovered from the storm.