The Horry County Council Tuesday night declared a localized state emergency and ordered that all county offices be closed except for essential services.
“If it does what they are saying it’s going to do right now, it’s going to be a mess,” said Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught.
The Myrtle Beach International Airport will remain open. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airlines on flight status throughout the rest of the week and this weekend.
Horry County will open its phone bank to assist the public with any questions or concerns regarding Hurricane Matthew on at 8 a.m. That number is (843) 915-5150.
Evacuations are expected to begin Wednesday afternoon in Myrtle Beach of everyone east of Highway 17 Business. Charleston is calling for evacuations of all hurricane zones.
Although the eye of the hurricane is expected to pass offshore, the Grand Strand is expected to experience tropical force winds, and possibly hurricane strength gusts.
Gov. Nikki Haley made the announcement today that she is closing all county offices, and coastal cities are being urged to follow that lead
“The issue is, once you leave your home you will not be allowed to reenter it until we give the all clear from Gov. Haley’s office,” said Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill.
“That’s probably going to force people to make a decision -- do I stay or do I go, do I have enough money to get a hotel, do I have friends to stay with -- a lot of people are probably going to stay because they are afraid they are not going to be able to return back to their home,” Hill said.
By staying behind and riding out a Category 2 storm, Hill said coastal residents will be putting their lives at risk.
The storm surge is expected to reach eight feet, and when the storm makes landfall, which is predicted along the South Carolina and North Carolina border, winds could be 100 mph.
“The biggest problem with the storm is it’s a slow moving storm, when it hits if it slows down to 6 or 10 mph that means a constant downpour, then you have flooding and it’s reminiscent of Floyd and weeks of recovery,” Hill said.