Hurricane Matthew tore into Horry County as a Category 1 storm, riding right on the coast when it past by, washing the area in flood waters, bending and breaking trees, signs and utility poles, and causing widespread power outages.
Weather authorities with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said it will take time to fully assess all the destruction in Matthew’s wake as well as totals on some storm aspects, such as surge and possible tornado touchdowns, but rainfall and wind speed totals were tallied Sunday.
Part of Conway received 10.64 inches of rainfall while others received 12.18 inches. Myrtle Beach collected varied amounts of rainfall totals ranging from 4.90 inches to 12.19 inches in some places. North Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand Airport recorded 7.93 inches, according to a Sunday report.
Other Horry County areas received rainfall totals of: Galivants Ferry: 12.23 inches, Murrells Inlet: 5.56 inches, Buck Creek Near Longs 10.47 inches, and Loris: 8.64 inches, according to a weather service report measured Sunday.
Highest wind speeds were: Myrtle Beach International Airport: 74 mph, Grand Strand Airport: 70 mph, Lake Arrowhead: 67 mph, Horry County: 65 mph, Little River: 58 mph, Conway: 48 mph, a weather service report stated.
A 5 p.m. Sunday update showed the once-powerful Matthew had further fizzled and was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone with 75 mph winds as it drifted eastward about 100 miles from the North Carolina Outer Banks at about 15 mph, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.
Wind levels continued to kick the Grand Strand with speeds about 30 to 40 mph Sunday, but winds were expected to gradually calm overnight Sunday and into Monday, weather authorities said.
While no deaths from the storm were reported in Horry County as of Sunday afternoon, three people had reportedly died from Matthew in South Carolina.
The storm killed hundreds in Haiti and at least 17 in the U.S. — nearly half of them in North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.
“It has left a lot of devastation in its wake. Lives have been lost, property has been damaged,” said President Barack Obama. The president said he’s in touch with the governors in affected states and “Even as TV cameras move on to the next story, we’re going to be right there with the people in need. … We’re just going to keep on working to make sure as the waters recede you’re able to rebuild.”
Horry County damage assessment teams began assessing the area at 8 a.m. Sunday, and the Horry County Emergency Operations Center was operational, although phone lines were temporarily down for a portion of the morning.
As of Sunday afternoon, more than 163 roads are closed and/or impassable, according to Horry County officials. Shelters began consolidating as numbers dwindled from 971 as of 6 p.m. Saturday to just 468 at noon Sunday.
All Horry County government office and courts will remain closed Monday, and circuit court jurors have been excused for the week. The Myrtle Beach Civil Term of Jury Court also was canceled for all jurors this week. Additionally, all Horry County Solid Waste Authority offices and recycling centers closed Sunday will begin to reopen as soon as they can safely do so within normal operating hours Monday, officials said.
Property owners along the Waccamaw River and Intracoastal Waterway are asked by Horry County officials to monitor river levels closely as they rapidly rise.
“The rivers are currently at major flood stage and could continue to rise. Flooding will be similar to the October 2015 floods. Residents in these areas should prepare now if they plan on evacuating their property,” said a news release from Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman.
A curfew for unincorporated Horry County was put into effect at 6 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday, and a curfew for Myrtle Beach was also enacted from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.