Friday brings final preparations for Hurricane Irene

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The hardest impact from Hurricane Irene will be felt along the coastline. With the highest winds and a minor storm surge expected several precautions have been taken to make the beaches and the nearby areas safe.

Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and Horry County have closed the ocean to swimmers and surfers.

In addition to that, lifeguards along the Grand Strand have removed all of their equipment from the beach Friday so the surging waves do not wash it away.

"The main thing with that is we don't want that to hit the equipment," explained Noah Rosenthal with Lack's Beach Service. "So sometimes depending on the area of the beach, some areas are more narrow than others, we're going to move it off the beach a little bit and shuffle it around just so everything stays dry."

Of course that also keeps the equipment from blowing around and becoming a danger. That is the reason workers in North Myrtle Beach took all the trash cans off the beach Friday.

"One of the first things you want to do is get things off the beach that could turn into projectiles," said city spokesperson Pat Dowling. "That would be trash cans, umbrellas, anything that's loose and lying around."

In the heart of Myrtle Beach, workers make sure the stage in Plyer Park does not turn into a huge and dangerous projectile. They strapped it down and took off the roof.

"We made sure to secure it just in case anything as far as Irene comes through with the major winds," said Cornelius Hemingway. "We secured it just to be safe."

Businesses along the boardwalk were also asked to take in their patio furniture by the end of the day.

"We tied down our big fish. This umbrella's bolted in, but as far as anything thing else that can just blow away, we're definitely taking those things in, and just trying to be prepared," said Meredith Rawls at Dirty Don's Oyster Bar.

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