Horry County prepares for onset of winter storm

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - As the winter storm gets closer, Horry County Emergency Management is getting ready. They're at 'OPCON 3,' and prepared for the worst.

It's every kid's dream, and every parent's nightmare: no school here because of bad winter weather out there. Some people say this whole thing is blown out of proportion, but Horry County Emergency Management says prepare for a mess.

The sun may have shined down on Horry County Monday afternoon, but the run at Conway's Food Lion is a good sign of what's coming Tuesday.

"The water aisle's already going down, people got bread in their carts," said shopper Melinda Daniels from Niagara Falls, or as she calls it, the Snow Belt. She's not too worried about the threat of winter weather.

"It's going to be nothing and people down here are going crazy," she said. "My husband on the other hand, he's watching it like crazy, he's originally from down here. He's like 'honey if it's snowing on Wednesday you're not driving, you're not taking that truck to work! People are crazy down here; they don't know how to drive.' And I'm just like 'Honey I can handle it!'"

Sherina's not too concerned either. No matter what's on the roads, she says she's making it to her job at Bellisimo's.

"Tomorrow with the polar vortex? I'm not worried about it at all," she said.

But the emergency vests and laptops at Horry County's Emergency Operations Center paints an eerie picture of the calm before the storm.

"We're anticipating a very busy day, starting tomorrow all through Wednesday," said Emergency Management Director Randy Webster. He was so busy preparing for the coming storm, he could only stop for a few minutes for an interview. But his message was clear: stay home.

"Be smart," he said. "Take your time if you go out, but try not to go out."

The kids don't have to go to school, and if you can stay off the roads, you should.

"There may be power outages, there may be communications outages," Webster said.

Which means emergency services may not be available, or at least, may be tough to reach.

"People do not need to be getting out once this event starts, until the sun comes back out on Thursday, and starts to warm things up and goes," Webster said.

If a half-inch of ice does form on our roads tomorrow as predicted, that could make traveling long distances nearly impossible. If you get stranded, Webster says to keep in mind that if you do call a friend or family member to come get you, they also run the risk of getting stranded.

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