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McClellanville is situated on the Atlantic coast, on land surrounded by Francis Marion National Forest and has traditionally derived its livelihood from the sea and coastal marshes by fishing, shrimping and oystering. In 1989 the town was devastated by the full brunt of Hurricane Hugo, which destroyed homes, fishing boats, trees and much of the picturesque character of this historic fishing village. The stronger north side of the eyewall passed directly over the village. Residents who took refuge in Lincoln High School, which had been designated as a storm shelter, were surprised to be flooded by a storm surge which threatened to drown all the refugees. Helping one another, in pitch darkness, they were all able to get into the space above the false ceilings in the building and no one was lost.