Some tropical storm winds and heavy rainfall are likely to begin in the Myrtle Beach area Wednesday night. The most severe forecasts, including storm surge to 8 feet, are likely late on Thursday.
Waves from Hurricane Dorian brought Myrtle Beach surfers out to the beach access at 65th Avenue North Wednesday.
Dozens of surfers, mostly regulars at the beach, bobbed up and down in the big, choppy swells, taking turns catching the kind of waves not normally seen on this stretch of the Grand Strand.
Mattie McGrath said the waves were getting a little choppy with the wind.
“Yesterday was the most magical day of my life,” the 41-year-old bartender said. The waves were big and the water was calmer.
“There were dolphins jumping all around me. Two breached just 15 feet from me,” he said.
Sixty-fifth Avenue is one of the main surfer beaches on the north side of Myrtle Beach.
The double red flags were out, banning people from getting in the water, but the life guard companies and fire-rescue don’t call in the surfers unless there’s lightning nearby or conditions become very dangerous.
Dylan Donahue, a Carolina Forest High School student, was out riding the waves with his friends. “It’s pretty good, a little choppy but they’re pretty big.
The latest river flood briefing from the National Weather Service now shows the current most likely scenario based on the hurricane’s projected path is that the Waccamaw River at Conway will see moderate flooding, while the Little Pee Dee River at Galivants Ferry could rise to just below minor flood levels.
The plausible worst-case scenario would put Waccamaw flood levels at major, which is more than 14 feet, while the Little Pee Dee River could rise to moderate flood levels.
The latest update from the National Hurricane Center projects the eye of the hurricane to pass the Grand Strand coast about 8 p.m. Thursday with tropical storm force winds now guaranteed and the potential for hurricane force winds increasing in areas closest to the ocean.
Surfside Beach enacted a curfew beginning 8 p.m. Wednesday and is the first Grand Strand town to do so, though others are expected to follow suit based on historical precedent.
The National Weather Service has also issued a High Surf Advisory for Horry and Georgetown counties, as confidence in the track continues increasing.
NWS meteorologist Steven Pfaff said tropical storm force winds should arrive in the Grand Strand tonight, but the potential for hurricane force winds are most likely Thursday. They continue to worry most about about storm surge, which could reach as high as 8 feet in Myrtle Beach and further south along the Grand Strand coast.
“This is significant,” Pfaff said, noting that the surge could definitely pose a threat to loss of life and property, especially along shorelines that have been weakened from previous storms.
Pfaff also had some good news, noting that once the storm passes late Thursday night into Friday, the weekend weather forecast “looks pretty good.”
The overnight forecasts by National Weather Service appear to show Hurricane Dorian’s track moving slightly west, increasing the risk of major wind and rain impacts to the Grand Strand coast.
In addition to being under Hurricane and Storm Surge warnings, Horry and Georgetown counties are also now under Flash Flood Watch, and NWS’ latest report predicts that flash flooding is likely, especially Thursday, with 8-10 inches of rain expected along coastal regions and up to 15 inches in isolated areas.
Minor to moderate flooding in the Waccamaw River will be possible as a result.
Tropical storm force winds in the range of 55-80 mph are expected along the coast, though the likelihood of increasing wind speeds could develop to hurricane levels. Power outages, downed trees and some structural damage are also becoming more likely, according to NWS.
The track is also moving slower than previously expected, so while some tropical storm winds and heavy rainfall are likely to begin in the Myrtle Beach area Wednesday night, the most severe forecasts, including storm surge up to 8 feet and potential for isolated tornadoes, are likely to occur late Thursday.
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