Paula Daniels leaned over the edge of a ramp leading up to the Garden City Pier, watching as larger-than-normal waves crashed down, sea foam covering any visible sand on the beach.
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Daniels was surrounded by her husband and other family members who are down for the week on vacation. But the trip was disrupted as Tropical Storm Michael moved across the state, bringing with it strong winds and rain.
“They come about two or three times a year and it always rains, every time they’re here,” Daniels said, laughing. Daniels has lived in Garden City with her husband for a little over a year.
Michael hit Mexico Beach, Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm. As it moved over land, Michael quickly downgraded to a tropical storm, bring 35 mph winds to the Grand Strand and surf heights between 8 and 12 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
In Garden City, parts of Atlantic Avenue and Cypress Avenue started to flood as the normally calm inlet overflowed into the town Thursday morning.
Cars, trucks and a golf cart braved the water trying to get to the other side. Others immediately turned around to find another route.
Along Atlantic Avenue, a walkway filled with people coming to look at the choppy waves in the inlet — an area that’s normally filled with plants and grass.
Ginger Swaringen, her husband Mike and 4-year-old granddaughter Lacy are staying at the Sea Watch. Ginger and Mike Swaringen went through Hurricane Hugo in their Charlotte, North Carolina home.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Ginger Swaringen said. “The ocean, the foam and everything coming off of it.”
On the beach during high tide, water rolled in close to the dunes, piles of sea foam wavering in the wind. Waves crashed into the pier, sending spray high into the air.
Screens once attached to the cafe, bait shop and arcade building were pulled from the windows, blowing across the pier.
Daniels said she stayed during Hurricane Florence, which hit North Carolina as a Category 1 storm, moving down across the Grand Strand in September. Her favorite part about tropical storms is watching the waves.
“We like watching storms,” Daniels said. “It’s just amazing what the water can do.”
Along the MarshWalk in Murrells Inlet, the water was fairly calm. A boat passed the MarshWalk, and few people enjoyed the open restaurants. Goats on goat island were climbing on benches waiting for food. They were recently put back on the island after they were moved to a safer location during Hurricane Florence.
The storm moved into North Carolina by mid-day Thursday.