Irma Flashbacks to Hurricane Hugo

What a stormy year it has been! 

I published the following post in mid-October 2016 as Hurricane Matthew barreled down upon Charleston, South Carolina some 25 years after Hurricane Hugo had done the same. I was there at the time–a ground zero eye-witness.

This weekend, September 9-10, 2017, Hurricane Irma is touching the outskirts of South Florida with projections of it traveling up the west coast of the state, heading for my sister’s home near Tampa. My mind rolls back the years. The stark images, sensations, the sounds and smells of Category 4 Hugo swarm in my mind. Fresh from the devastation of Houston and Southern Texas battered and flooded by Harvey, this monster Irma is not at all welcome in its record-breaking ferocity. 

And then there’s Jose, already approaching the Irma devastated Virgin Islands with a trajectory and potential yet unknown. California and the North-West are on fire. Floods and earthquakes and tsunamis and all manner of natural disaster rage bear down on the nation; like the spirit of anarchy-infested mad crowds of protesters flooding our streets and towns with destruction.

Fortified by God’s Word and what He taught me through Hugo, I pray for those in the path of such violence. I pray for PEACE. To BE STILL. 

The trial and travail of the season is the forerunner of the blessing and birth of a new thing that God will do in our lives. In our nation. A whole lot of shaking is going on. But the Bible tells us that will be so. And in the aftermath, only what is of God will remain.

For me, the shaking of a hurricane to the land in its path is nothing compared to the shaking within the hearts of the people who have build their homes and livelihoods on the land in its path. When we are shaken through dangerous trials, God is by our side, waiting with open arms for us to reach out to Him, that He might give us the fullness of His Kingdom. A heart of Peace. Renewed vision with Hope. And, “grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28.

Here’s my Hugo story, through the lens of Matthew from an October 2016 post. Angels watching over me . . .

Matthew has plowed through Haiti

and is heading for Charleston, South Carolina this week!


[Tweet “As if America hasn’t had her fill of storms in recent months.”]

Being coastal, the Carolinas sees their share of storms and hurricanes. But Matthew–a hurricane packing category 4 winds, is too reminiscent of Hugo, who swept through Charleston as ground zero some 25 years ago. When I lived there, just 15 miles inland, as a young 30 year old mom with two toddlers and a submariner husband.

I remember vividly how FEAR gripped me as the storm approached . . . and how God COMFORTED my fears and SAVED me in the midst of the storm. A great story which I share here, to encourage those in the path of Matthew, and those weathering the hurricane force winds that are assailing our nation at present:

Some twenty years ago, I lived in Charleston, South Carolina – ground zero for Hurricane Hugo. Hugo was a category four storm – 156 mile an hour winds – spawning tornadoes.


You do a storm like that once – never again.  Up until that day, I had large red headed woodpeckers eating from my feeder just out the kitchen window. I delighted to watch them every day, along with the jays, and sparrows, and cardinals, and finches.

After Hugo, the smaller birds returned. But never saw the woodpeckers again. I lived there for four years.

Hugo arrived just six months after we’d moved into our new construction home in a nice new development called, Canterbury Woods. We renamed it, Canterbury Sticks, post Hugo.


My husband at the time was the engineer on a submarine that was being worked on. It was strapped to the dock while all the other ships were sent to deep water. He was able to be home with me and the kids who were toddlers at the time. A family with three children stayed with us, evacuated for safer ground as they lived a mile from the shoreline. We were 15 miles inland.


As the day darkened, I became overwhelmed with fear! It was like a great claw hand had a grip on my shoulder and, shaking me uncontrollably. Trembling, I ran to my bedroom and bath, gagging from my nauseous stomach.

[Tweet “In the swirling specter of a monster hurricane, fear consumed me!”]

I had to pull myself together! I was the grown-up and had to look after my children. They happily played  with their friendsas we waited together. Not a care in the world. 

But, I was melting down.

The sky darkened and the rain barely began falling that afternoon. Within hours, the landscape of my neighborhood and town would be radically changed. In my room, I shook with fear and cried out to God to calm the storm in my heart and mind.

[Tweet “Then, it happened–a vision! The Lord gave me a vision!”]

I saw my house as though looking down upon the roof.  On the roof, sitting straddled and facing each other, were two HUGE angels!  They were laughing and talking and the winds were blowing – but they paid it no mind. Trees fell towards the house, but they just brushed them away with their arms and continued laughing and chatting.

The Lord spoke very clearly to my spirit:

“As your house is built on a firm foundation, so, too, you have built your life on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.  
You will not be moved.”

There was a sudden flood. A flood of PEACE surged through me. The shaking and trembling immediately stopped. I was calm and at rest and rejoined the adults in the family room to weather the storm. We put the children to bed in their rooms while listening to the horrible roar outside, feeling safe within.


In the morning, we rolled out of bed and into the street. The shock and awe of the devastation was astounding. A pine tree went through the neighbor’s house, diagonally across the street from us, like a missile. Two doors down, a tree fell through a house, cutting it in two. Roofs ripped off, trees down so that it was impossible to drive on the street.  An overwhelming sight of destruction.

[Tweet “Not a soul was injured, but such frightful stories were told of how they passed the night.”]

And, our house? We lost nine trees. They all fell AROUND THE HOUSE in a circle – not a one touching the house – as though brushed aside by unseen hands. Oh, there was a small branch that took out $35.00 worth of shingles from the corner of the garage. My neighbors didn’t have any shingles left at all.


The Hand of God – faithful to keep!

Matthew, Harvey, Irma, Jose . . . they seem metaphorical to the national hurricane of anarchy and distress that has gripped America. Fear is rampant at the threats of death and destruction that whip through our historic landscapes, city streets, and small towns. We are fortifying our properties and worrying over our futures and our loved ones. As deep state government corruption and international threats loom like a dark funnel cloud offshore seeking to destroy all we hold dear, we pray the Lord to push back the damage already done and vanquish further potential calamities into the sea. Restore sunshine and righteousness . . . birdsong and blessing. 

Though we can’t now be sure of the path of either Irma or our nation, we CAN be confident in a God who loves us, still works miracles today, and whose hand is faithful to keep us through wind, floods, and fires.

Because we are built up, on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ . . . we will not be moved. We will travail. And something of epic proportion will be birthed in the earth. One soul at a time. 

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Sharing Irma Flashbacks to Hurricane Hugo this week with:

Grace Moments Link-up

Homemaking Party

Sitting Among Friends

Christian Bloggers Link-up

Thought Provoking Thursday

Vintage Mama

Katherine’s Corner

Faith Filled Friday

Pink Saturday

Spiritual Sunday

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About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at and blogs at


  1. Gosh, was Hugo really that long ago? I sure remember the damage it did! Amazing story you shared – it reminds me of This Present Darkness!

    • Hi Lisa! Yes–it amazes me, too. My 2 year old at the time is a 28 year old now. We (me and my toddlers) escaped to New England for a week or so with family a day and a half after the storm, when we realized there would be no power for a couple of weeks. Husband stayed behind–warmed canned ravioli over a candle for dinner at night. LOL So heartbreaking to see all the flooding pictures. God bless everyone in the aftermath of this trauma.

  2. How brightening! Your family definite had a higher power taking care of you. I have no desire to live near a coast line.

  3. When nature rears its ugly head, it’s tempting to think that God has disappeared. That He has left us to the ravages of uncontrollable circumstances. And yet, we know that this is never true. May God be with the many, many people who have been affected by the terrible weather of late. May He be close to the brokenhearted…


    • Agreeing with you in prayer, my friend. So tragic to see such loss among everyone down south. May the Lord turn their fortunes–both from the ravages of this storm, and for our nation as a whole. Set the captives free and restore the years the cankerworm has stolen . . .

  4. Praise God for His protection! He doesn’t always work in the same way, but He is always walking through all our storms with us! Blessings!

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