Stay off the roads and beach and take down your flags, wind gusts could be dangerous

With Friday’s storm expected to bring heavy rain, damaging winds of 50 to 70 mph and possible tornadoes to the Horry County area, Myrtle Beach fire officials are advising residents and tourists exercise “extreme caution.”

With the National Weather Service in Wilmington reporting the area will experience widespread severe storms that are long-lived and intense, Lt. Christian Sliker with Myrtle Beach Fire Department said the department will be in full operation throughout the storm but Silker advised residents and visitors should take shelter in a safe place.

“Keep your family and property safe,” Silker said.

Silker recommended homeowners secure any loose items on their property like trash cans and recycling bins, and take any flags down off their post. Additionally, drivers need to exercise extreme caution on the roads, he said. People are also encouraged to stay off the beach and out of the water with a double red flag currently in place, meaning the water and beach is closed to the public.

“The biggest thing right now is the ocean,” Silker said, explaining how there is a chance for severe rip currents.

Minor flooding is possible along area beaches with high tide Friday, and the most intense storms could also cause some structural damage. Between 2 and 3 inches of rain are forecast and up to 4 inches are possible with stronger thunderstorms.

The Conway and Myrtle Beach areas will see an enhanced risk of severe weather at 5 p.m. and a higher risk between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., according to the NWS.

Horry and Georgetown counties are under a wind advisory until 11 p.m.

As of 11:30 a.m., Santee Cooper is reporting more than 1,500 power outages in the Ocean Drive Beach area of North Myrtle Beach. It’s map also shows two outages in the Myrtle Beach area impacting less than one dozen people.

Here’s where you can read our live coverage of the storm.

Anna Young is the Coastal Cities reporter for The Sun News covering anything and everything that happens locally. Young, an award-winning journalist who got her start reporting local news in New York, is dedicated to upholding the values of journalism by listening, learning, seeking out the truth and reporting it accurately. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Purchase College.