2. The Georgia Hurricane of 1898
The strongest hurricane on record to hit the coast of Georgia, the 1898 storm swept across Cumberland Island on October 2, with a 16 foot storm surge reported in Brunswick. Hutchinson Island in the Savannah River, north of the eye of the storm, was completely inundated with water. The Port of Savannah found it docks, wharves, and facilities under water from the surge, and most of its waterfront warehouses and sheds were flooded, causing severe financial damage. The hurricane was relatively compact, with its peak winds limited to a radius of an estimated 20 miles, but high winds spawned by the hurricane caused crop damage in Florida and Jacksonville, 50 miles to the southwest, reported 60 mph winds.
The United States Weather Bureau issued a storm warning the day before the storm came ashore in Georgia, which covered from Key West to as far north as Norfolk, Virginia. Nonetheless, when the storm came ashore the coastal communities of Georgia were ill prepared, and in addition to the severe property damage caused by the storm surge and the high winds (estimated a century later to have peaked at 135 mph), 179 were believed killed by the hurricane, some as far north as Charleston, South Carolina. Highlands, North Carolina reported 12.5 inches of rain which were dumped on the region as the storm dissipated.