Will Hurricane Michael bring more flooding, close schools in Horry County?

Graphic from the National Weather Service in Wilmington, NC
Graphic from the National Weather Service in Wilmington, NC

Horry County is at a moderate risk of additional flooding and damage ahead of Hurricane Michael hitting the area, according to the National Weather Service. As of Tuesday morning, Horry County officials do not have a plan as to how this storm might affect operations.

County spokesperson Kelly Moore said Tuesday morning that local authorities are monitoring the situation to see if any further action will be needed as is usual when a storm threatens the area. No concrete plans had been announced as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Horry County Schools has not yet announced if they will change class or activity schedules for the storm, but Lisa Bourcier, county school spokesperson, said HCS is also monitoring the situation.

Michael is much faster moving than Hurricane Florence and will not dump the amount of water into local river basins that the past storm did. However, the area still hasn’t recovered from Florence, posing new threats to storm-weakened places.

Horry County still is experiencing road closures in Conway due to the flooding after Florence. The National Weather Service said in its Tuesday morning update that the grounds are still wet from Florence. This means nature can absorb less water, increasing flood concerns.

Tom Garigen, director of the Horry County Storm Water Department, said the county is not concerned about additional flooding if the National Weather Service prediction of two to four inches holds true.

But if rain totals exceed predictions, Garigen said there could be some localized minor flooding.

Michael will also bring wind speeds in the range of 25 to 45 miles per hour, with gusts ranging from 35 to 60 mph, forecasters say.

Due to the area still recovering from the last storm, NWS forecaster Steve Pfaff said the potential for downed trees is high. This could lead to power outages and road closures.

Debris pick-up was set to begin this week in areas affected by Florence flooding. Moore said there is a chance the storm could delay the process as crews move south along flooded county roads.

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Moore said that residents should be prepared for the chance that power goes out when Michael reaches the area. These preparations should include bottled water, nonperishable food, pet supplies and copies of important documents.

The American Red Cross for South Carolina said in a press release that it is staying in contact with local governments to decide what actions might be needed in terms of shelters and relief operations.