After heavy rain flooded the Grand Strand and surrounding areas Friday night, weather authorities said a lull is expected Saturday afternoon, but dangerous amounts of rainfall are predicted for Saturday evening, especially Sunday, and into Monday.
Steve Pfaff, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C., said anywhere from half an inch to 2 inches is expected throughout the day Saturday, as most of the heavier rain shifts away from the Grand Strand and more toward the Charleston and Columbia areas.
“The ground is saturated over a widespread area. The risk for excessive rainfall ranges from slight to high across South Carolina through today… As a result, the potential for dangerous flooding will persist with flood watches remaining in effect,” Pfaff said in a brief on Saturday morning.
More hazardous amounts of rain are expected to start accumulating Saturday night, with another 7 to 10 inches of rain expected through Monday, weather authorities said.
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Weather authorities said Friday the storm would let up by Monday morning, but now it’s expected to continue through Monday until a cold front pushes the pressure systems away on Tuesday.
High wind gusts from 25 to 30 miles per hour are also expected through the weekend, Pfaff said.
“The combination of saturated ground conditions and wind gusts could lead to some downed trees today through Sunday,” Pfaff said Saturday. “We’re beating the drum for life-threatening issues.”
Pfaff said flooding will make driving difficult as run-off water collects across intersections and low spots. Additionally, some small creeks may quickly spill over their banks and into roadways. Any location where water is flowing across the road may result in a scour, complete wash-out, or sink hole. Flooding dangers are even higher at night because hazards harder to recognize.
The S.C. Highway Patrol reported roadway flooding in the following locations Friday night:
• Highway 57 at S.C. 9
• Kings Road
• U.S. 17 northbound
• Lake Arrowhead Road
• Highway 17 in front of the CVS in Little River
• Highway 90 at Sandridge Road
• Calabash Road between Highway 17 and Highway 57
• Highway 111 at Lafayette Subdivision
• 4046 Fairway Drive off Highway 17 in Little River
• Highway 17 near Baldwin Avenue in Little River
Pat Dowling, North Myrtle Beach city spokesman, said Saturday morning many of those roads should be passable now after the North Myrtle Beach and Little River areas saw heavy flooding Friday night, with Little River getting 16 inches and North Myrtle Beach rainfall totaling 9 to 16 inches.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation released a statement informing the public they can call their customer service line at 855-467-2368 to find out about the latest road closures.
Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman, advised motorists to be cautious and adhere to road closure signs and barricades because road closings could happen very quickly throughout the weekend.
Dowling and Bourcier both said there were issues Friday night with people in North Myrtle Beach out exploring and not adhering to warning signs and barricades who ended up needing to be rescued.
“Don’t go exploring and don’t become adventurous,” Dowling said.
Dowling said people who are out unnecessarily and not adhering to warning signs may take away from public safety efforts.
Horry County was at OPCON 3 Saturday morning, which means that the storm continues to pose a significant, and Georgetown County officials were at OPCON 4, meaning officials are being watchful and speaking with weather authorities and state agencies regularly.
Shelters are open in Horry and Georgetown counties for those who are displaced by flooding.
The Red Cross opened a shelter at 10 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church North Myrtle Beach, 200 Highway 17 South, to house individuals after 10 people were evacuated, Bourcier said.
Four people were at the shelter Saturday morning, which will remain open throughout the weekend, Bourcier said.
Georgetown County officials also said a shelter, operated by the American Red Cross at Beck Recreation Center at 2030 Church Street is open and will be into the weekend.
Georgetown has already received 5.7 inches of rain, and 20 people were evacuated from an apartment complex Friday night, according to Sam Hodge, Georgetown County Emergency Management Division director.
With the ground already heavily saturated and more rainfall expected throughout the weekend, county officials are advising local residents to prepare their homes and businesses for possible flooding.
Bourcier said Saturday afternoon is a good time for residents to get sand bags from home improvement stores if needed and stock up on groceries if needed.
“Citizens are highly encouraged to stay off the roads throughout the night. The dangers of driving at night poses a higher risk as the hazards become harder to recognize. Please drive with extreme caution,” Bourcier said in a release.
Georgetown County officials said the public is reminded that pets, firearms and alcohol are not allowed in shelters, and that people seeking admittance at a shelter may want to bring the following items:
• Any medications that will be needed
• Blankets, pillows and/or sleeping bags
• Eating utensils
• One flashlight per person
• Identification and valuable papers (such as tax bills, drivers licenses, utility bills)
• Baby food and diapers
• Cards, games and books
• Battery-operated radio
• Extra Batteries
• Drinking water
• First aid kid
• Non-perishable food
TIPS TO PREPARE FOR FLOODING
• Secure or move outdoor items that may be carried away by flood waters, including outdoor furniture, fuel tanks and other items around the exterior of your home or business. If items cannot be tied down, consider moving them indoors or to higher ground.
• Consider moving essential or very valuable items to an upper floor.
• Disconnect electrical items where possible.
• Be prepared to turn off gas, electricity and water.
• Gather important documents, such as insurance policies and put them in a safe place.
• Residents who wish to use sand bags to redirect storm debris flows away from property can find them at most hardware stores. Bags should be filled to half-full. Fold the top of the sandbag down and rest the bag on its folded top. It is important to place bags with the folded top toward the upstream or uphill direction to prevent bags from opening when water flows past.
Source | Georgetown County