Father, son remember Hugo

August 4, 2009 

  • About this series

    Each Tuesday leading up to the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo on Sept. 21, thestate.com will present a "Hugo: Then and Now" vignette featuring people included in coverage of Hugo in 1989, telling their stories about the storm 20 years later.

HUGO THEN AND NOW: Each Tuesday, find out what happened to people whose lives were changed by Hurricane Hugo 20 years ago. This is the first in a series. Click here for The State's commemorative Web section marking the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo: archival photos and videos, your stories and photos, and more.

Dr. Vic Weinstein was the chief of obstetrics at Roper Hospital and was living in downtown Charleston in September 1989. On Hugo’s arrival day, he brought his family with him to the hospital, including his 1-, 3- and 7-year-old children, to ride out the storm.

Hugo hit Charleston that night.

“The place was shaking. In the ER, the doors were blowing in, we had to use chains to keep them closed. It was a mess. Then the eye came and it was absolutely dead. It was so cool. We all went outside and it was just dead.

“As the backside of the storm approached, we could look down Courtenay (Drive) and watch the water come up. I said, ‘Oh my God, here comes the flood.’ The water rushed in, the wind started up, and we closed the doors. ...Then we took care of patients in the hospital.

“...The day after, I took the van — with the broken windows — and drove it as close (to the house) as we could get. ... Jeff (his 3-year-old son) went with me to see what was going on with our house. I carried him through about two feet of water and we went in the house.”

Their dog, a golden retriever named Chowder, had survived the ordeal on the second floor of the home where they had left a bathtub full of water and a large bag of dog food. Chowder was dry, but had already eaten most of the food. The first floor of the house took about 1½-feet of water and a couple of inches of mud, but the second story escaped harm.

“We moved back in and lived upstairs. We had a generator and the gas was still working so we had a stovetop that worked. We didn’t get electricity for a while.”

He moved to a home in West Ashley in 1992. Jeff, now 23, is a cook at High Cotton restaurant in Charleston. And they still have hurricane memories.

“I hope they’re only memories. Once was enough.”

Story by Megan Sexton. Video below by Tim Dominick

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service