As Hurricane Matthew lashes the Caribbean with heavy rain and winds Tuesday, state, county, and emergency management officials continued to warn residents of the storm’s impacts as new forecasts showed the storm moving closer to the coast.
Matthew’s path is still uncertain, but models show the storm will likely pass by or even directly hit the Grand Strand area Saturday.
Horry and Georgetown County officials both shifted their operating conditions from level 4, indicating an alert status for a possible threat, to level 3 early afternoon Tuesday morning, indicating a disaster or emergency situation is likely or imminent.
Surfside Beach Town Council will hold an emergency meeting 4 p.m. Tuesday to enact an ordinance in order to declare a localized state of emergency, officials said.
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American Red Cross officials are gearing up for the storm in advance and requesting volunteers in the Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, surrounding areas and across the state.
"We are preparing to help families across South Carolina who may be affected by Hurricane Matthew," said Nanci Conley, executive director for the American Red Cross of Eastern S.C. in a news release Tuesday morning. "By joining us as a Red Cross volunteer, you will bring and comfort to your community when it is needed most.”
The organization needs volunteers to be available to assist with sheltering, feeding, and operational support, and those interested in helping can visit RedCross.org/SC and click on volunteer to begin the application process.
Residents and visitors should also familiarize themselves with their evacuation route.
The public is also strongly encouraged to immediately begin reviewing or making emergency plans for their families and businesses, Georgetown County officials said.
Officials say emergency supply kits should include:
▪ Non-perishable food
▪ Drinking water (two gallons per person per day)
▪ Flashlights with extra batteries and bulbs
▪ First aid kit
▪ Non-electrical can opener
▪ Necessary medications and prescriptions
▪ Needed supplies for any children
▪ Needed supplies for any pets
▪ Important documents (insurance policies, photo ID, tax records, bank information, etc.)
▪ Toiletries and other personal hygiene items
▪ Cash and credit cards
▪ Weather radio with extra batteries
If evacuation becomes necessary, residents should take the following items with them:
▪ Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply)
▪ Food—non-perishable, easy to prepare items (3-day supply)
▪ Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
▪ Extra batteries
▪ First aid kit
▪ Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
▪ Multi-purpose tool
▪ Sanitation and personal hygiene items
▪ Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
▪ Cell phone with chargers
▪ Family and emergency contact information
▪ Extra cash
▪ Emergency blanket
▪ Map(s) of the area
▪ Other essential items that could not be replaced if they were destroyed
Should you need to evacuate your home, here’s a list of hurricane shelters in Horry County:
▪ Aynor Elementary School, 516 Jordanville Road, Aynor (413 capacity)
▪ Aynor High Schook, 201 Jordanville Road, Aynor (627)
▪ Aynor Middle School, 400 Frye Road, Galivants Ferry (1,026)
▪ Blackwater Middle School, 900 East Cox Ferry Road, Conway (825)
▪ Conway High School, 2301 Church Street, Conway (1,278)
▪ Conway Middle School, 1104 Elm Street, Conway (726)
▪ Green Sea Floyds Elementary School, 5000 Tulip Grove Road, Green Sea (526)
▪ Green Sea Floyds Middle and High schools, 4990 Tulip Grove Road, Green Sea (665)
▪ Loris Elementary School, 901 S.C. 9 Business East, Loris (464)
▪ Loris High School, 301 Loris Lions Road, Loris (1,163)
▪ Loris Middle School, 5209 Hwy. 66, Loris (1,026)
▪ North Myrtle Beach High School, 3750 Sea Mountain Highway, Little River (778)
▪ Palmetto Bay Elementary School, 8900 S.C. 544, Myrtle Beach (479)
▪ Pee Dee Elementary School, 6555 Sc. 134, Conway (533)
▪ Waccamaw Elementary School, 251 Claridy Road, Conway (768)
▪ Whittemore Park Middle School, 1808 Rhue St., Conway (847)