Hurricane Hugo struck Charleston, South Carolina on September 21 as a category 4 storm. Hugo ranked as the eleventh most intense hurricane at time of landfall to strike U.S. this century and is rated as the second costliest hurricane with over $7 billion in damages. Hugo's storm surge was the highest ever recorded on the East Coast. It was estimated at 20 feet just north of Charleston. Hugo's 150 mile wide swath destroyed about one billion board feet of timber and resulted in major damage hundreds of miles inland. The total number of deaths associated with Hurricane Hugo is 82.
Large dramatic increases in turbidity are apparent in the after image as compared to pre-Hugo structure in the before image. Both changes in regions to the left and the right of the hurricane track are seen following the passing of Hugo. The northern extent of change is larger than to the south as depicted by the turbidity increases in Long Bay, South Carolina and more moderate changes in Onslow Bay and Pamlico Sound, North Carolina. This is expected due to higher winds on the right side of the hurricane track.
The difference image depicts an overall cooling on the order of 1-2 °C over an extremely large area primarily due to surface cooling. In the southern portion of the after image the continuity of the Gulf Stream appears to be broken in some areas suggesting that Hugo may have temporally "disrupted" or altered the surface flow in these regions.