‘This is a critical situation:’ Mayor stresses residents should leave Myrtle Beach before Florence

Mayor Brenda Bethune calls time before storm "critical situation"
Calm Myrtle Beach waters ahead of Hurricane Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
Calm Myrtle Beach waters ahead of Hurricane Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) - As Hurricane Florence inches towards the Carolinas coast, cities across the area are ensuring plans are in place.

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune assures residents now is not the time to wait.

"This is a critical situation. The waters and storm surge coming with Hurricane Florence are very dangerous and this is not the place we need to be right now," Bethune said.

One of the most important reasons to leave, Bethune said, is because the local hospital is closed and emergency personnel won't be able to assist.

"We cannot get to you to help you. Once again, I am just stressing the importance and implore to people to please leave town," she said.

The city management staff, police, fire and the city's emergency management team are working before the beginning of the storm until after the storm.

"We are working around the clock nonstop. We will be in the emergency operation center together and will already be making plans for the aftermath of this storm. We will work together and rebuild what we have to and we will rebuild it bigger better and stronger," Bethune said.

Her advice for people as anticipation lingers is to not compare it to other storms.

"It's dangerous to compare Florence to Hugo or Matthew or any other hurricane. This is Mother Nature and every storm is different and every storm has its own uniqueness to it," she said.

Bethune said she is mother of the city now, as she grew up in Myrtle Beach and endured many hurricanes. It's her job to ensure everyone things are in place and safety plans are set.

"This is an anxious situation. We are all anticipating something that we don't know what to expect. It's scary, I understand that. It's extremely scary. I'm scared, our staff is scared," Bethune stated.

Bethune wanted to stress one thing before Florence hits.

"We are Myrtle Beach strong and no matter what we will continue to be Myrtle Beach strong and I believe in our community," she said.

Bethune added she received a text message from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence who were checking in and asking what she and the city of Myrtle Beach need. The mayor said she has already felt the support statewide and federally, which she is very thankful for.

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