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‘This could be a recovery nightmare’: Winds, rain to greatly impact Myrtle Beach

Water is the biggest threat to life from Hurricane Florence

"Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water, " warned the National Hurricane Center's director during an update on Hurricane Florence on Thursday, September 13, 2018.
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"Most of the fatalities in these tropical systems is water, " warned the National Hurricane Center's director during an update on Hurricane Florence on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

With prolonged hurricane force winds and up to 30 inches of rain, forecasters say the Hurricane Florence’s aftermath will present major challenges to the Grand Strand area.

“This could be a recovery nightmare,” said Steve Pfaff, with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the Myrtle Beach area starting Thursday afternoon with tropical storm force winds. The storm is expected to be slowmoving and last for a few days. Currently, the storm is a Category 2, which is a drop, but the weakinging also presents challenges.

Pfaff said when people see Category 2 they might not take the storm as seriously. The wind field has also expanded in the storm, leading to more areas being impacted by strong winds.

The storm is expected to bring 20-30 inches of rain, which means even areas not prone to flooding could see high water. That could lead to entire communities being cut off from travel.

Rainfallgraphic91318.jpg
Graphic from the National Weather Service in Wilmington, NC

“There is likely to be major river flooding,” he said.

Tropical or hurricane force winds are expected throughout Horry County and are projected to last for days, which could knock down trees and power lines. The saturated ground from the rain will also aid in knocking down trees, Pfaff said.

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While the storm weakened, forecasters still predict up to 9 feet of storm surge in the Myrtle Beach area. Pfaff described the storm surge as “life-threatening.”

There is also a threat of tornadoes in the Grand Strand region on Friday as the storm moves through, Pfaff said. The tornadoes will last only for quick spurts compared to traditional cyclones.

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