Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station
Hurricane Florence, now at a Category 4, is moving toward the coast, and Horry County can expect to see the first signs of the storm late Thursday morning, according to the latest update from the National Weather Service.
The latest NWS forecast shows Florence heading directly to North Carolina for possible landfall, though both South Carolina and North Carolina will be impacted by the storm.
“It’s still a little too early to tell exactly where the core aspects of the storm will go,” Steve Pfaff, with NWS Wilmington, said Tuesday.
Pfaff said there is a chance of life-threatening surges, wind and flood impacts.
Areas between Murrells Inlet to Cape Fear have an estimated four- to six-foot storm surge, the NWS reported Tuesday morning. From Edisto Beach to Murrells Inlet, storm surge estimates are between two and four feet.
Horry County likely will see between 1.5 to 3 inches of rain, the NWS reports. Georgetown County is expected to get less rain, with estimates about 1.35 inches.
Florence is continuing on a west, northwest path throughout Tuesday, and then will track northwest toward the coast Tuesday night through Friday, the NWS reports. As of Tuesday morning, the storm had a chance of shifting anywhere between 100 and 180 miles.
What we know:
- A storm surge watch has been issued until further notice for Horry and Georgetown counties.
- A hurricane watch has been issued.
- There is potential for significant flooding in North Carolina areas since Florence is expected to slow down after it reaches the coast and moves inland.
- There is a moderate tornado risk in Horry and Georgetown counties.
- There’s a high risk of inland flooding and extreme risks for marine, surge and wind.
Damaging hurricane-force and tropical storm-force winds are likely in Horry County. The NWS reports a potential for 74 to 110 mph wind in the Myrtle Beach area from Thursday morning to Saturday afternoon.
The damaging winds could also spread “well inland,” according to the National Weather Service.
Gov. Henry McMaster issued evacuations Monday in South Carolina as the area prepares for Hurricane Florence’s possible landfall. He later lifted evacuations Tuesday for three Lowcountry counties — Jasper, Beaufort and Colleton. The evacuation process started noon Tuesday.
Lanes are reversed on four highways, including U.S. 501, McMaster said.
State offices will be closed in 26 counties, including Horry and Georgetown counties, as well as schools starting Tuesday and until further notice.
Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong