North Myrtle Beach prepares for storm, officials go to Cherry Grove to encourage evacuations

North Myrtle Beach prepares for storm, officials go to Cherry Grove to encourage evacuations

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Police officers, firefighters, public works employees and city administrators went to Cherry Grove Friday afternoon to convince people face-to-face to evacuate.

North Myrtle Beach Police Chief J. Phillip Webster said the mission was successful, bringing the total percentage of people still in Cherry Grove from between 10 percent and 20 percent to down below 10 percent.

He said Cherry Grove is a low-lying peninsula with the ocean on one side and the marsh on the other, so the storm surge's effects on that part of the city could be severe.

He also encouraged people in other parts of the city to evacuate.

"I honestly wish everyone that did not need to be here would leave," Webster said. "I would tell you that if I was not the police chief of North Myrtle Beach and I could pack my bags and leave and pack up my family and go, I would be out of here."

The main concern from a public safety standpoint is those who don't evacuate could end up needing help during the storm and then emergency crews won't be able to get to them because conditions will be too dangerous.

"If what is predicted comes to fruition, we simply won't be able to help them at some point without boats," he said. "Once you get stuck up there, I mean, you're stuck."

North Myrtle Beach fully activated its emergency operations center.

People went out to the beach in North Myrtle Beach Friday to see the ocean as Hurricane Matthew made its way up the coast.

The majority of Main Street businesses were closed, but a couple of businesses were still open, including International Café.

"They know we have a history of staying open, so they kind of count on us to be open," owner Kevin Phillips said.

The business was busy Friday, but the owner said it will be closed for the first time since it opened 13 years ago Saturday.

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