Heavy rain flooded roads Friday evening and played havoc with weekend event schedules along the Grand Strand – and even more rain is on its way.
Though the Grand Strand will escape the storm threats from Hurricane Joaquin, the area will get drenched this weekend with between 5 and 8 inches of rain from other pressure systems that’s expected to create flooding problems.
“The ground is already saturated in many locations. The potential for heavy rainfall, regardless if Joaquin stays off the coast is high. As a result, some areas may see life-threatening flooding develop through Sunday,” said Steve Pfaff, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Friday through Monday morning for portions of northeast South Carolina and southeast North Carolina.
But some parts of the Grand Strand had all the rain they could take by Friday evening, with several roads flooded and shut down at times. The S.C. Highway Patrol is reporting roadway flooding in the following locations:
- 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
Roads in and around North Myrtle Beach also were experiencing some flooding Friday evening, according to Pat Dowling, city spokesman. When roads flood, public works places high water signs, barricades where necessary, and police monitor as well, he said.
Some streets in Cherry Grove also were flooded; that area has some of the lowest points in the city, Dowling said.
Officials warned motorists not to drive through any standing water as it could be deeper than it appears.
Horry County moved to OPCON 1 Friday night due to flooding issues, which means an emergency situation is in effect and poses a threat to the county.
Numerous North Myrtle Beach and Little River residents have been evacuated from their homes, according to Lisa Bourcier, county spokeswoman.
The Red Cross will open a shelter at 10 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church North Myrtle Beach, 200 Highway 17 South, to house those individuals, Bourcier said in a release.
Pfaff said the Grand Strand will see rounds of heavy rainfall that could total up to 2 inches per hour. He said as heavy patches of a rain swath over the area quickly dropping those hazardous amounts, there will be breaks in the storm allowing the rain to tapper off at times.
Officials predict rainfall totals to be around 5 to 8 inches, but Pfaff said some areas could easily see 10 to 15 inches through the weekend.
“The biggest threats to our area are the potential for flash floods and dangerous maritime conditions. All low lying areas, areas prone to flooding, and communities along the Waccamaw River should use extra caution and prepare for potential flooding,” Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said in a release Friday.
Pfaff said road washouts, river flooding, downed trees, power outages, and coastal flooding are all likely scenarios through the weekend.
Tropical storm force wind probabilities have diminished, but forecasters said coastal areas in northeast South Carolina and southeast North Carolina could still get wind gusts of 30 to 35 miles per hour on the beaches.
Weather officials said the area could see a bit of a lull in the rain Saturday afternoon, but more rain will sweep across the area Sunday.
Pfaff said the rain Friday and Saturday is not from Hurricane Joaquin, but from moisture from pressure systems in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean combining.
“We haven’t really even tapped into Joaquin’s moisture yet, but Sunday we will probably be connected to Joaquin,” Pfaff said.
Even though Joaquin will likely be out to sea as it passes the Carolina coasts Sunday, moisture from the storm will still add to already-drenched areas.
Officials said Hurricane Joaquin has maintained its category 4 status and will most likely move northeast, taking it farther out to sea instead of turning toward the east coast as some earlier models showed.
On Friday, the storm was moving north from the Bahamas and was expected to move northwest then shift northeast, heading farther from coastal areas, weather officials said.
“Regardless of Joaquin’s eventual track, periods of very heavy rainfall is expected to impact the area beginning through the weekend,” Pfaff said.
Officials began preparing for the storm’s impacts Thursday, and Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency for South Carolina at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, which enables agencies to “better coordinate resources jointly and respond to requests for state assistance from county emergency managers,” according to a release.
Emergency preparedness officials in Horry and Georgetown counties moved into OPCON 4 levels Thursday, meaning the counties are closely monitoring conditions, speaking with state and weather officials, and reviewing all operational plans.
Officials are urging the public to be watchful for possible flooding throughout the weekend and to take steps to prepare for the severe weather.
Residents in low-lying areas and along rivers should take flood precautions, officials said. Even those not in areas prone to flooding should move plants inside so they don’t get over saturated and move or cover outdoor furniture that can’t handle heavy amounts of water, officials said.
County and city officials in the area all said they are continuing to monitor the storm closely.
Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said people are tempted to go to the beaches and look at the water when storms are happening, but getting in the ocean is not a good because of rip currents.
“The combination of increasing wave action and water runoff may lead to beach erosion, and rip currents will also become elevated beginning this afternoon,” Bourcier said Friday afternoon.
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