Weather News

Traffic, cancellations hamper exodus

More from the series

Hurricane Hugo coverage from The State: Sept. 17 - Sept. 24, 1989

Read more stories from The State’s original reporting of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. From Hugo’s collision with the Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico to its catastrophic landfall near Charleston, The State kept readers up-to-date with vital news about the event that turned into the worst storm South Carolina has ever seen.

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This story first appeared in The State on September 22, 1989.

As nightfall approached Thursday, travel was thinning along the state’s highways after a day of bumper-to-bumper traffic heading inland.

Amtrak suspended its service through Columbia at midday. The schedules for buses and airplanes were tentative at best.

Bob Waddle, manager of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, said: “My guess is that the carriers will suspend operations as soon as the winds get pretty strong, and they’ll resume as soon as they can.”

The last bus to arrive from Charleston rolled in on time at 7:45 p.m. Thursday.

Earlier in the day, drivers were stalled by heavy traffic on interstates from Myrtle Beach and Charleston. “Rather than three hours to get here, it’s taking about 5 1/2” from Charleston, local Greyhound Trailways manager Jim Adams said.

It was just as bad on the route from Myrtle Beach.

But by 8:45 p.m., there was virtually no traffic along the interstates, according to Ken Cabe, a spokesman for the state’s Emergency Operations Center.

”Apparently, everybody has already gotten where they want to go,” he said.

At the Greyhound terminal, Adams was expecting fewer than a dozen people to be stranded overnight -- people who had plans to go south, toward the path of Hurricane Hugo.

Friday morning service was suspended to Charleston and Savannah, and Adams was unsure about service to Myrtle Beach.

Flights in and out of Columbia remained iffy, too.

”We’ll just play it one flight at a time,” said Gene Elrod, local manager for Delta Airlines.

By Thursday evening, the only Delta Airlines flight that had been canceled was one arriving in Columbia from Atlanta at 1 a.m. Everything else -- depending on Hugo -- was “subject to cancellation,” he said.

American Airlines canceled roughly 50 flights out of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., affecting service to Columbia, too.

Thursday night, USAir canceled four flights coming into town from Charlotte, Baltimore and Newark.