A deadly hurricane turned toward the South Carolina coast 61 years ago on a path that eventually landed the giant storm in the Myrtle Beach area – and the destruction was monumental.
News reports said Hurricane Hazel “pulverized’’ much of the Grand Strand, packing 130-150 mph winds as it made landfall the morning of Oct. 15, 1954 near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.
In South Carolina, beaches from Garden City to Cherry Grove, now a part of North Myrtle Beach, were among those hit the hardest, according to a report in The State the day after the storm hit.
Fishing piers at Springmaid Beach, Tilghman Beach and Myrtle Beach all collapsed in the storm.
“I don’t think a single building east of Ocean Boulevard on the waterfront escaped,’’ then-Myrtle Beach Mayor Ernest Williams said as he assessed storm damage immediately after Hazel. Waves “would break over the top of a house and that house wasn’t there anymore.’’
Hazel was so powerful its impacts were felt as far north as Canada.
All told, Hurricane Hazel was responsible for 95 deaths and $281 million in damage in the United States, according to the National Hurricane Center. At the time, Hazel was one of the worst hurricanes ever known to blast South Carolina.
AT THESTATE.COM: View more photos from Hazel, with this story online.