Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Emergency management officials in Horry County are continuing to monitor the track of Hurricane Earl as it continues to inch closer towards the East Coast.
As the storm travels closer to the Carolinas, forecasters expect significant swells to form late Tuesday evening and into Wednesday along area beaches.
Officials warn once the swells develop, the threat of rip currents will greatly increase.
"Beachgoers are asked to use caution over the next couple of days," Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said Tuesday. The Horry County Emergency Operations center remains on standby and has not actually begun operations. On Tuesday, Director Randy Webster said he continues to monitor the storm's path and check-in frequently with the national weather service.
"What were doing is just waiting and watching, waiting for it to turn but were still preparing in case it doesn't," said Webster. The Operations Center has handeled dozens of previous storms including Hanna and Ernesto.
The National Hurricane Center expects Hurricane Earl's path to run parallel to the East Coast, reaching the coastal region of North Carolina by late Thursday or early Friday. Forecasters said the storm is packing sustained winds of 135 mph and moving northwest at 14 mph, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
A hurricane watch has been issued north of Surf City, NC to the North Carolina/Virginia border. Forecasters have also issued a tropical storm watch from Cape Fear, NC, to Surf City, NC.
Officials said the threat of Hurricane Earl should pose as a strong reminder for families and residents in coastal areas to review hurricane emergency plans.
For more information on how to prepare for tropical weather, visit the Surviving the Storm section of WMBFNews.com.