Irma, now downgraded to a tropical storm, will continue to gradually weaken as it moves up through Florida into Georgia today. Although the eye of the storm was hundreds of miles away, the Grand Strand has still been whipped by heavy winds, rain and coastal flooding.
Here are today’s school and business closures: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article172447327.html
We will continue to give you weather updates as they come in throughout the day.
Floodwaters roll into Georgetown
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Early in the afternoon, John Kenny, who runs a business incubator on Front Street, was thankful that most of the storm had stayed west of South Carolina.
"I'm glad we didn't get the real hurricane," he said. "Those poor people in Florida. Can you imagine?"
He rearranged some sandbags, provided by the city, in front of the Georgetown Innovation Center at 901 Front St. The building had flooded in 2015, and again during Hurricane Matthew last fall, but this time he had installed sump pumps.
"We'll see at high tide" whether the pumps keep water out of the storefront, Kenny said.
Castaways Bar and Grill at 833 Front St. was flooded by 1:25 p.m., well before that point, with water streaming in through its low-lying back porch on the boardwalk. It seeped out the front door, pushing aside a barrier left there under the assumption the water would come from the other direction.
As high tide approached around 1:45 p.m., it first seemed as if Front Street might avoid the flooding that residents and businesses say plague the area during serious storms.
Georgetown's stormwater department placed a pump in a sewer in front of Constitution Park at the intersection of Orange Street to siphon off some water into the river.
Will Cook, who works for the city, said that they had used the same pump during a strong storm a few weeks ago and it worked fairly well, making sure the sewer system didn't overflow into a dense row of businesses and parking on the street.
And, Cook said, a wall of sandbags in a nearby parking lot was meant to keep the water from seeping into a particularly low-lying back lot and then into the street.
"If it comes over that wall, I don't think there's much more we can do," he said.
By shortly after 2 p.m., the wall had been mostly breached. Water was seeping over the harborwalk and into the park, making the pump moot. Water streamed into the intersection, sending nearby business owners scrambling to sandbag the entrances they had thought would be safe and move their trucks and SUVs off the street.
Within 20 minutes, murky brown water rose above benches and a trash can at the entrance to the park.
Flights canceled at MYR
4:22 p.m.: Twenty-three flights, initially set to arrive at the Myrtle Beach International Airport Monday, have been canceled so far. Two others coming in from Atlanta, Georgia, have been delayed according to flymyrtlebeach.com.
Twenty flights set to depart to cities between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Boston, Massachusetts, have also been canceled as Tropical Storm Irma continued to wreak havoc on the southeast. Four flights to Atlanta have been delayed.
Georgetown power shut down due to rising water; bridges remain open
2:16 p.m.: The Georgetown City Electric Department de-energized transformers behind the Rice Museum and at Francis Marion Park due to rising waters that threatened the transformers.
Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach cautioned earlier in the day that if the transformers had to be shut down, they would stay off until the water receded enough to safely re-energize it.
“The outage could last up to 2 hours,” she said.
The bridges into Georgetown remain open and Broach says the bridges will not close due to high winds.
“We do advise residents (to) stay off the roads if possible and if they must drive, especially over the bridges, practice caution and good judgment,” Broach said.
Flooding around Pawleys Island
2:00 p.m: Although the Pawleys Island causeway had been closed for flooding, a group of local teens decided to wade across the bridge and into the floodwaters for the sake of adventure.
“We wanted to be adventurous and walk around,” said 19-year-old Robert Crosby, who lives in Georgetown but came up to Pawleys where he thought the weather would be better.
“I haven't really experienced this at all, to be honest,” he said.
Pawleys Island resident Roger Wigfalo, 19, said he wanted to walk around in the water and see what it's like to be in a hurricane.
His main concern was power lines coming down into the flooded water he was standing in.
"I'm not even gonna lie, that's something to worry about," he said. "I'm just gonna trust in God and have a little fun."
Employees strengthen sandbag wall in Georgetown
1:50 p.m.: City of Georgetown employees try to fortify a sandbag wall next to Buzz's Roost on the Harborwalk.
Through traffic prohibited in Garden City
1:44 p.m.: Police are closing Garden City causeways due to significant flooding in the area.
Earlier, the causeways in Pawleys Island were closed.
No ocean swimming allowed in Myrtle Beach
1:08 p.m.: Double red flags have been posted on the beaches in Myrtle Beach, prohibiting ocean swimming.
The flags have been posted due to the risk of dangerous rip and longshore currents.
Emergency shelter opens in Pawleys Island
12:30 p.m.: Georgetown County has opened an emergency shelter on Pawleys Island after a surging high tide flooded roads on the island.
Waccamaw Regional Recreation Center opened as a temporary emergency shelter at 12:30 p.m., according to a release from Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach. Anyone seeking shelter is advised to bring anything they may need, including bedding and items for entertainment.
The center is located at 83 Duncan Drive, Pawleys Island.
Largest hotel in Georgetown nearly empty
12:26 p.m.: Georgetown's largest hotel, the Hampton Inn at the Marina, was more than half empty on Monday as the changing weather forecasts last week scared away visitors who thought they might have been caught in the eye of then-Hurricane Irma.
Teri Britt, the general manager, said there had been several cancellations last week. before the forecast bent the storm's path through Florida and Georgia.
"Nobody knew what to do or where to go," Britt said.
Now, the hotel was at just 40 percent occupancy, she said, far below the typical 60 to 70 percent range for this time of year. But 12 of the 98 rooms were occupied by Florida residents running from Irma's path.
Next door, the marina at Georgetown Landing was largely empty of ships--only three vessels remained in or near the marina, and many had anchored in the middle of the adjacent Great Pee Dee River. The "NautiGirl" was anchored the closest to land.
Though a few people were walking downtown, nobody was braving the marina except for a small flock of seagulls clinging to the planks as the dark brown water began to thrash the floating docks.
Pawleys Island Closes
12:28 p.m.: Pawleys Island causeways are being closed by police due to significant flooding during high tide. Power is out through sections of the island, the Pawleys Island Police Department reported in a tweet.
Updates from Garden City
Waves crash over the dunes along Garden City Beach
— JASON LEE
Minor power outages reported around Pawleys Island
11:12 a.m.: Santee Cooper reports minor power outages around Pawleys Island just west of U.S. 17 with about 60 customers without power, according to the company.
— CHARLES DUNCAN
Gusty winds, rain in Surfside Beach
10:27 a.m.: Allison Bencie of Surfside Beach ventured down to check on the Surfside Pier with her dog, Suzy, Monday morning.
"She usually loves the beach," Bencie said, but Suzy wasn't as enamored with the gusty winds, blowing rain and choppy surf on Monday.
Hurricane Matthew had chipped away at the pier last year and Bencie said she was hoping no more damage would come to it.
Two hours before high tide, the surf was already whipping the pier as Bencie and Suzy headed back to their golf cart to venture home.
Tourists brave the weather in Garden City
9:50 a.m.: Jessica Collins rested her head on Scott Collins' shoulder as the two gazed out at a choppy surf and the wind whipped their hair at the Garden City Rainbow Drive beach access.
"I think it's beautiful," Scott Collins said as the surf surged closer to a reef of sand about 20 feet ahead of them that was chipped away by Hurricane Matthew last year.
The waves rose and crashed with a rhythmic fury that dared to do its own damage.
Three hours before high tide, the surf and wind were already starting to devour the previously crippled coastline.
"The water is dangerous," Scott Collins said. The two planned to head back inside their condo where games of Uno and Phase 10 awaited should the power go out.
The Collins, from Dayton, Ohio, came down for their son's wedding set for Thursday in Surfside Beach. They watched the forecasts closely before making the trip, Scott Collins said.
"We braved it," he added, shaking his head as he spoke about the people in Florida and Georgia, who were braving a crueler side to Irma Monday.
He said he wasn't scared by the conditions they were seeing here, but Florida was seeing worse.
Sandbags placed in Georgetown
9:45 a.m.: Sandbagging has begun in Georgetown, where several businesses are closed and boarded on the historic section of Front Street.
Georgetown County public works employees and the Coty's Fire Department were working around 9:15 Monday morning putting sandbags behind a Coastal Carolina University office at the 900 block of Front Street.
The parking lot behind the building, next to the historic harborwalk, is one of the low-lying areas that public employees will work to protect before the tide peaks around 1:40 p.m., said Fire Batallion Chief Shane Singletary.
On Monday morning, the water was just a few inches below the typical high tide mark, Singletary said.
Rough waves along Grand Strand beaches
9:15 a.m.: The wind and surf is picking up in Garden City Monday morning, with waves and wind eating away at a shoreline crippled by Hurricane Matthew last year. The surf was stretching closer to the shore's edge more than three hours before high tide. But the rough conditions haven't kept people from venturing out to walk their dogs or watch the waves.
— EMILY WEAVER
There’s a 100 percent chance of rain with possible thunderstorms after 8 a.m., according to a weather briefing from the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.
Some of the storms have potential to bring heavy rain to the area.
Minor coastal flooding is expected during today’s noon high tide, weather officials said.
Saltwater flooding will occur in areas near the beaches and swashes, tidal creeks and on flood-prone neighborhood streets.
There may be some unusually high water levels for up to two hours before and after noon’s high tide.
Water levels are expected to reach up to 1 foot above flood stage along Horry and Georgetown County beaches.
Wind speeds will be around 23 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 46 mph. A wind advisory is in effect from now until 2 a.m. Tuesday for Horry and Georgetown Counties, according to NWS forecasters.
Officials say the winds could easily topple weak or poorly rooted trees, and widely scattered power outages are possible.
According to forecasters, there will be hazardous beach conditions today due to large breaking waves along with strong rip and longshore currents.
Minor beach erosion is also possible, especially during high tide.
There will continue to be a 100 percent chance of rain throughout tonight and possibly a thunderstorm, forecasters say.
Heavy rain is still in the forecast, with 1 to 2 inches possible.
Winds are expected to be from 26 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 48 mph.
There’s only a 50% chance of rain and thunderstorms before 2 p.m., according to the weather briefing. The storms may bring more heavy rain.
It will be cloudy, then gradually become mostly sunny.
Wind speeds will be significantly slower—around 11 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.