Nearly 1,000 people were taking refuge in shelters across Horry County Saturday as Hurricane Matthew hammered the area with wind and rain.
The Category 2 storm, which was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning, started making its presence known with blowing rain on Friday night. Then came the winds gusting upwards of 70 mph inland as most of those who chose to stay, hunkered down indoors.
County shelters had welcomed 942 guests as of noon, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman.
American Red Cross shelters across the county have the capacity to house a total of 10,650 people.
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Horry County Emergency Management reported more than 100 roads were closed or were deemed impassable in the county as of 4 p.m.
Residents living between U.S. 17 Business and the Atlantic Ocean were told to evacuate Thursday due to the potential storm surge that was breaking its way past ocean access areas and swashes Saturday morning. The surge was lapping at stilted homes in Surfside Beach and flooded Sea Mountain Highway in North Myrtle Beach.
Horry County Emergency officials were reminding people to stay off the roads, to never drive around barricades or barrels or road closed signs, and to never drive through standing water.