HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County officials held a news conference at noon Thursday to discuss Hurricane Matthew.
Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said the county is there to support the community, with the Emergency Operations Center remaining open 24/7 until the threat is over, which is likely to be sometime Sunday.
The county is confident that it is prepared, and Lazarus asked all citizens to adhere to warnings, especially those living in Zone A.
Emergency Management Director Randy Webster reiterated those in Zone A and those in low-lying areas should heed the Governor's noon evacuation order. He said all Red Cross shelters are opening. He anticipates rain from eight to 12 inches close to the coast as well as sustained winds of up to 40 miles per hour and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.
Webster said the beach has taken a serious hit over the past year and feels the dune line is extremely vulnerable. Storm surge levels will be four to six feet above ground, but those numbers could change.
Coast RTA is running shuttles and you can find pick up points here.
300 National Guard troops are in the area working with state law enforcement to manage traffic flow. There are no lane reversals in Horry County but if conditions change, the county will accommodate.
After Horry County sees 40 mph winds, emergency response will be delayed and after the storm service will be delayed if the county sees flooding.
"The goal after the storm is to get people home, businesses open and back to normal as quickly as possible. But, this will take time," said Randy Webster.
Call 843-381-8000 or 843-915-5151 if you see debris, drainage or flooding issues on roads. You can also check EOC social media accounts.
Businesses in Zone A should evacuate or close and anyone conducting business is doing so at their own risk. Areas outside Zone A will operate as usual.
Mark Lazarus said Horry County is on the better side of a storm that could turn at any moment.
"It is going to be a major event and we'll get significant rain and wind," said Mark Lazarus. He added residents should take this storm seriously.