South Carolina has been the scene of many a catastrophic event in her history. From the hands of mother nature to the coincidence of pure accident, the disasters that have touched the lives of South Carolinians throughout history have left an indelible impression on her spirit. Here are but a few of the tragic moments of horrifying disasters in South Carolina.
1. Charleston - September 29, 1938. A trio of tornados hits the Holy City, demolishing the City Market.
It's estimated that 100 people died as the trio touched down. Damage occured all over the city, not just at the popular City Market.
2. South Carolina - October 2015. The flood of the millenium sweeps over the Palmetto State wreaking havoc everywhere. The catastrophic flooding would continue to affect the Palmetto State for weeks.
Dubbed "the thousand year flood," this major weather event dropped as much as 27 inches of rain in five days in parts of South Carolina. A relenting tropical storm lashed out at the Palmetto State for days. By October 5th, the death toll had risen to 11 people.
3. South Carolina Coast - 1893 Sea Islands Hurricane.
In the final days of August 1893, a massive hurricane made landfall at or near Savannah, Georgia. This would have placed the northwest quadrant of the storm along the South Carolina coastline. Reports of the Sea Islands Hurricane here on August 27, 1893 say the storm surge was 15-feet or greater and that devastating effects were felt as far north as Sullivan's Island - which was reported entirely submerged under 7 feet of water. Estimates put the loss of life from the Sea Islands Hurricane at between 1,000 and 2,000 lives, most from drowning.
4. Santee River - June 1886. Train trestle failure.
In terms of disastrous accidents, 1886 was a bad year for South Carolina. In June a train plunged through the Santee River trestle into the river, killing six passengers and wounding 14.
5. Charleston - August 23, 1955. An Air Force plane has engine trouble just short of the airport and crashes.
The plane crashed into three small houses, killing 9 people, including some of the airmen on board and some civilians in the homes.
6. Silverstreet, SC, Newberry County - December 18, 1946. A tragic disaster hits this community when a school bus and a train collide.
A school bus driver wasn't aware the train was running two hours late, but it was. The train hit the bus, killing the driver and the 10 children aboard.
Reports in the Abeliene Reporter-News in Texas, say the train was headed from Greenville to Charleston and it dragged the bus for a quarter mile. The gruesome remains were scattered all along the way.
7. South Carolina Coast - Sept 21, 1989. A Category 5 hurricane slams into the coast of South Carolina.
Hurricane Hugo made landfall in Charleston in the early morning hours of Sept. 21, 1989. The sustained winds of 140 mph uprooted homes and buildings from their foundation. The storm surge from Hugo affected hundreds of miles of the South Carolina coast, including our beloved Town of McClellanville which was completely submerged underwater. The deaths of 27 people in South Carolina were attributed to this massive storm.
8. Camden, SC - 1923. More than 70 people die in a fire while attending a school graduation.
In May 1923, 150-200 people were attending a graduation event at Cleveland Rural Graded School about six miles from Camden. It was an old wooden building that reportedly had been condemned and the graduation ceremonies were the last event at the school. At approximately 10 p.m., an oil lamp exploded in the rear of the room. Before anyone realized what had happened the old wooden building was engulfed in flames and the only exit at the rear of the building was already blocked. Seventy-four people perished in the fire or were trampled to death trying to escape the flames.
9. Charleston - August 31, 1886. Earthquake.
At 9:50 p.m. on August 31, 1886 an earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.0 struck South Carolina. The effects of this major seismic activity could be felt hundreds of miles away. The majority of the damage in South Carolina took place in Charleston because it was so populated at the time. Sixty deaths were attributed to this major earthquake.
Are there other South Carolina disasters that come to your mind when you read this story? We’d love to know in our comments.