Florence Saturday updates: Waiting for the floodwaters

Piles of sea foam, big waves mark high tide as Florence continues in Myrtle Beach

The beach was nearly covered by a mix of sea foam and high tide on Myrtle Beach Saturday afternoon. The area was still under a storm surge warning from Tropical Storm Florence.
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The beach was nearly covered by a mix of sea foam and high tide on Myrtle Beach Saturday afternoon. The area was still under a storm surge warning from Tropical Storm Florence.

Here are live updates from the Grand Strand as the slow-moving Tropical Storm Florence drops flooding rain:

8:10 p.m.

Tropical Storm Florence’s was 45 miles south-southwest of Florence as of the latest advisory. The maximum sustained winds are 45 mph as the storm slowly moves inland at 2 mph. A tropical storm advisory remains in effect from South Santee River, South Carolina to Surf City, North Carolina.

8 p.m.

City court for North Myrtle Beach this upcoming week has been canceled, according to a press release. All cases will be rescheduled and all concerned will be notified, the release says.

7 p.m.

The Town of Surfside Beach will allow swimmers back in the ocean at 8 a.m. Monday, according to a press release. Anyone who gets in before then will be subject to arrest, the release says.

6:20 p.m.

Georgetown County schools will be closed Monday for students, according to a press release. Employees who are expected to report will be notified by their supervisors, the release says.

5:30 p.m.

A Saturday weather update said parts of Horry County can expect upwards of 11 inches of rain as a result of Florence. Loris is expected to be among the hardest hit, with 11.54 inches predicted.

Air lines using Myrtle Beach airport are expected to resume their flights on Sunday.

“Prior coming to the Airport, passengers should verify the status of their flight on their airlines website,” the press release said.

The Horry County Joint Information Center (JIC) will not be active overnight Saturday but will reopen at 8 a.m. Sunday, according to a press release from the county.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will remain at full activation and the phone bank is open 24 hours, the release says.

4:30 p.m.

The City of Conway Fire Department posted on Facebook regarding the city’s curfew situation Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve had several questions in the last few hours regarding the City of Conway’s curfew. It is still in effect tonight. The curfew will be in place from 7:00 pm - 7:00 am.,” the post said.

4:20 p.m.

Santee Cooper reports that more than half of its customers who lost power during Florence had their power restored Saturday. Crews, including additional workers from other Southeastern states, will work through the weekend to restore power for the customers who are still experiencing outages, according to a press release.

4:10 p.m.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is planning to build a temporary flood control device to help divert water from the Waccamaw River away from U.S. 501.

SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall announced the plan during Gov. Henry McMaster’s Saturday afternoon press conference addressing the continued affects from Tropical Storm Florence.

She also said the plan is to use U.S. 378 and U.S. 501 Bypass in Conway to help residents return.

3:45 p.m.

Grand Strand Regional Medical Center will reopen to patients at 8 a.m. Sunday, according to a press release. The following services will be available then: ER and Level 1 trauma center, heart services, stroke care, intensive care and pediatric intensive care and behavioral health care (a temporary service), the release states.

On Saturday, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital resumed providing emergency care at 10 a.m.

3:30 p.m.

  • Horry County Schools announced that there will be no classes Monday and it will remain closed until further guidance from the S.C. governor’s office, according to a release from Lisa Bourcier with HCS. HCS staff members who may be needed during the recovery process will be notified by their supervisors, the release states.
  • Pleasant Hill Elementary School, a Georgetown County facility that had been serving as a hurricane shelter, will close at 7 p.m. Saturday as occupancy has dropped to three people, according to a news release. It could reopen if needed because of flooding difficulties, the release says. The shelter at Andrews Elementary School has 24 evacuees and will remain open until further notice, according to the release.

2 p.m.

Tropical Storm Florence is 50 miles west of Myrtle Beach, according to the National Hurricane Center and continuing its slow move inland at 3 mph. The Grand Strand area remains under storm surge warning.

Florence is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Saturday night.

12:30 p.m.

A large tree was ripped from the ground, taking part of the golf cart path with it at Surf Golf and Beach Club near Cherry Grove.

Myrtle Beach and Cherry Grove residents are cautiously getting back to their daily lives, driving around to survey damage and see what’s open.

Credit: Anna Douglas

Strong wind and rising tide is pushing sea foam onto the beaches in Cherry Grove. The storm surge warning for Myrtle Beach is still in effect with high tide set for about 1 p.m.

11:30 a.m.

There’s a five- to six-block area in North Myrtle Beach that didn’t fare so well and looks particularly vulnerable to further rainfall and storm surge flooding.

From 11th to 16th avenues, along South Ocean Boulevard, houses, condos and hotels have standing water in parking garages, overtopped patios and swimming pools and water still coming through ocean-to-road channels.

Credit: Anna Douglas

Tropical Storm Florence is located about 40 miles west of Myrtle Beach and continuing to crawl inland at about 2 mph, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

Areas of South Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., were continuing to flood Saturday afternoon as Florence dumped more rain on the area. An additional 10-15 inches are forecast for the Grand Strand through Monday.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 45 mph.

Gov. Henry McMaster has lifted the evacuation order for Dorchester, Charleston, Berkeley and Colleton counties, but the order remains in effect for Horry and Georgetown counties.

Tropical Storm Florence continues to move southwest on Saturday, bringing the storm further into South Carolina. The waves were growing as wind and rain picked up in Myrtle Beach just before 8 a.m.

10:45 a.m.

North Myrtle Beach Police at Boulineau’s Corner because of long lines for gas that are extending into the road. They have only one lane open going toward Highway 17 because it’s so busy in front of the gas station. The other lane is coned off.

An officer told The Sun News this started at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Wayne Johnson, filling up three 5-gallon gas cans for his generator, said he waited about 10 minutes in line at the gas station on Sea Mountain Highway. It’s one of the only ones open in town.

“I’m surprised they won’t give you a limit,” he said.

A line for gas forms on Sea Mountain Highway at Boulineau's Corner store during Tropical Storm Florence. The shop has had fuel throughout the storm, but conditions are now allowing customers to get out to assess the impacts.

Frank Boulineau, the owner, said they are “very busy.”

“We’re glad the storm didn’t get us,” he said.

Johnson’s neighbor told him about the gas.

A resident of Little River, he decided to stay in town this year.

“We figured it’s harder to get back in,” Johnson said. “So we just stayed here.”

Credit: Hannah Strong

Boulineau gas line
North Myrtle Beach police were directing traffic at Boulineau’s Corner on Saturday morning because of long lines for gas. James Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

10:15 a.m.

Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach has minor damage including damaged trees, but building damage is not widespread.

Portions of the shopping center’s parking lot are flooded and the water level under its boardwalk is high. The area remains vulnerable to further rainfall and potential storm surge.

Credit: Anna Douglas

barefoot landing 3
Florence downed a few trees in Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. Anna Douglas adouglas@charlotteobserver.com

8:30 a.m.

Myrtle Beach is still under Storm Surge Warning, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The National Weather Service advises residents to expect wind speeds to increase later today sustaining 20-35 mph and gusts up to 50 mph.

Some roads are flooded in North Myrtle Beach, though flooding is not yet as bad as what the city went through with Hurricane Matthew, according to social media posts from city officials.

North Myrtle Beach Police are also out patrolling the streets, contrary to what some news outlets would have you believe:

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Meanwhile, Horry County officials are continuing to advise residents that evacuated against returning, as the governor’s evacuation order still stands, but they say police won’t stop residents from re-entering on safe roads.

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6:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service is predicting an additional 8-10 of rainfall Saturday in parts of Horry County. Flash flooding and river flooding is likely, they warn.

NWS is also warning about the continued threat of storm surge, especially during high tide, which will occur in the Myrtle Beach area about 1 p.m. Water has the potential to rise 2-4 feet above ground level in the area.

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5:30 a.m.

Good morning, Grand Strand. We’ve got some potentially good news as rain and wind from Tropical Storm Florence continue to affect the Myrtle Beach area.

The slow-moving storm, downgraded from a hurricane Friday evening, will continue to weaken as it moves further inland Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center, which anticipates it will become a tropical depression by tonight.

Heavy rain is expected to continue all day, and the northern coastline of South Carolina is still under a storm surge warning, but the National Weather Service’s latest flooding projections show less rivers forecast to reach major flood levels than previously thought.

Seven rivers in the Carolinas are still projected to reach major flood levels, including the Waccamaw River in Conway, the Pee Dee River in Pee Dee and Cheraw, and the Little Pee Dee River at Galivants River, according to NWS.

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The Waccamaw River should rise to minor flooding levels Saturday evening before reaching record levels early next week. NWS forecasts that the river will rise about 3 feet higher than it did following hurricanes Matthew and Floyd.

David Weissman: @WeissmanMBO; 770-377-5326

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