Evacuations across Grand Strand continue as residents flee Florence

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Grand Strand residents began making their way out of the area on Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Matthew.

Before the start of the 12 p.m. evacuation on Tuesday, traffic on S.C. 544 in Horry County began to slow as residents prepared to leave. By later in the day, it was flowing smoother.

Governor Henry McMaster announced that evacuations for all coastal zones would begin on Tuesday, according to a tweet from Rep. Alan Clemmons.

In a tweet, Clemmons said McMaster announced to the General Assembly the evacuation of all three coastal zones will start Tuesday at 12 p.m. All schools and state offices in the coastal counties will also close Tuesday at the same time.

Governor @henrymcmaster just announced to members of the Geveral Assembly that he will order evacuation of all three coastal zone and the closure of all schools and state offices in the coastal counties effective tomorrow 9/11 at 12pm. #Hurricane#Florence

— Alan Clemmons (@RepAlanClemmons) September 10, 2018

During a Monday press conference, McMaster said lane reversals will take place at 12 p.m. Tuesday. The following highways will be reversed:

  • Charleston to Columbia: A full four-lane reversal on I-26 in Charleston will begin at the interchange of I-26 and I-526. The full reversal continues west until the I-26 crossover to I-77 just outside Columbia in Lexington County.
  • Horry County: Horry County has two four-lane reversals along US 501: SC 544 to US 378; and US 501: Between SC 22 (Conway Bypass) to SC 576 near Marion County.
  • For the Beaufort and Hilton Head area, S.C. Department of Public Safety and S.C. Department of Transportation will poise and be ready to reverse US 278 and US 21 if traffic conditions warrant.

During a Tuesday news conference, McMaster announced the evacuation order was lifted for the majority of the residents in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties.

NO evacuation for the majority of residents in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties. Edisto Beach and all other areas are still under a mandatory evacuation order. #HurricaneFlorence#sctweets#alert

— SCEMD (@SCEMD) September 11, 2018

McMaster estimated there will be almost 1 million people evacuating the coast of South Carolina. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website has vital information about the evacuation. It can be found here.

RESIDENTS IN ALL COASTAL EVACUATION ZONES IN ALL COUNTIES MUST EVACUATE BEGINNING NOON TOMORROW, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 DUE TO HURRICANE #FLORENCE#SCTWEETS#SCWXhttps://t.co/YEtFfgLQXe#alert

— SCEMD (@SCEMD) September 10, 2018

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has an interactive map to assist those who are fleeing from the storm.

It’s important to know your zone ahead of the evacuation. According to information from Horry County:

  • Zone A: All areas east of U.S. Business 17 (Kings Hwy), up to the intersection with U.S. 17 (Kings Hwy) and then all areas east of US 17 (Kings Hwy) to the northern county line.
  • Zone B: All areas south of Hwy 707 and Longwood Drive, including all areas in Longwood Plantation (Blackmoor) to the Waccamaw River and all areas east of U.S. 17 Bypass (Mark Garner Hwy) to U.S. 17 (North Kings Hwy) and all areas east of U.S. 17 (North Kings Hwy) to the northern county line.
  • Zone C: All areas between Hwy 701 and Hwy 544, south of Brown’s Chapel Avenue and Hwy 814, plus all areas east of Highway 31 (Carolina Bays Parkway) to Highway 90 and all areas east of Highway 90 to U.S. 17 to the northern county line.
  • Mobile homes, campers and those in flood-prone areas are asked to evacuate for all storms.
  • Horry County evacuates for storm surge and not for wind.

It’s also important you’re familiar with the evacuation route:

  • North Myrtle Beach and northward: Evacuees from north of Briarcliffe Acres will take SC 9 north to I-95 and beyond.
  • Briarcliffe Acres south to Myrtle Beach 10th Avenue North: Evacuees in Briarcliffe Acres south to 10th Avenue North will take SC 22 (Conway Bypass) to US 501 to Marion. In Marion, they may then take US 76 to Florence to access I-95 southbound or they may stay on US 501 to SC 38 to access I-95 northbound.
  • Myrtle Beach, from 10th Avenue North south to the Myrtle Beach International Airport: Evacuees from the Myrtle Beach area south of 10th Avenue North and north of the Myrtle Beach International Airport will take US 501 to Conway. They may then take US 378 to Columbia or continue on US 501 to Marion. In Marion they may then take US 76 to Florence to access I-95 southbound or they may stay on US 501 to SC 38 to access I-95 northbound.
  • Myrtle Beach International Airport southward through Surfside Beach: Evacuees from the Myrtle Beach International Airport south through Surfside Beach will take SC 544 to US 501 to Conway. They may then take US 378 to Columbia or continue on US 501 to Marion. In Marion they may then take US 76 to Florence to access I-95 southbound or they may stay on US 501 to SC 38 to access I-95 northbound.
  • Garden City Beach south to Winyah Bay: Evacuees from Garden City Beach south to Winyah Bay will take US 17 south through Georgetown. They will then take US 521 to SC 261 to US 378 to Columbia. Alternatively, they may take US 17 south to US 701 in Georgetown to SC 51 to US 378 at Kingsburg.

For more information about evacuation zones, head to the First Alert Weather Hurricane Center:

Once the Governor rescinds an evacuation order, Horry County Emergency Management will activate the Re-Entry Plan. Re-entry will occur in phases beginning with Level 1 access into the impacted areas. Municipalities may enforce their own identification procedures at checkpoints if deemed necessary.

Level 1

All public officials and personnel having key roles in life safety and the restoration of critical services after a disaster will be permitted to access the impacted area. All Level 1 personnel will be required to present and wear in full view an authorized employee identification badge. No personal vehicles will be permitted to enter impacted areas during Level 1 access, except governmental personal reporting for official business.

Level 2

This allows for reentry of critical support groups, relief workers, South Carolina Law Enforcement certified security officers, healthcare personnel, business owners/essential staff, insurance adjusters and any other person(s) authorized by the jurisdiction to provide services or reduce economic loss. All Level 2 personnel will be required to present and wear an authorized employee identification badge at checkpoints.

Level 3

Residents and business operators will have access to areas that have been deemed safe by the authority having jurisdiction. When possible, every effort should be made to safely assist these persons to their property if access is limited. All residents and business operations must show proper identification to enter an impacted area. Residents with special needs will be assisted back into their dwellings once sufficient support services are available to assist.

Re-Entry for Residents & Property Owners

Residents should have proper identification to gain admittance. Identification may include a valid government-issued photo ID card showing the location of the property. Out of state property owners with residential or commercial properties within the affected area(s) must show a valid government-issued photo identification and current documentation to verify the need for re-entry such as a utility bill, deed, property tax notice, etc…

Re-Entry for Business Owners & Essential Employees

Business owners/operators will need proper identification to gain admittance to impacted areas such as a current business license, company photo ID card, lease documents or other official documents showing the location of the property and a valid government issued ID card.

Essential staff/employees will also need proper identification such as a valid business or government issued ID card and an essential employee authorization letter on official company letterhead provided by the business. This letter should include a request for admittance, the employees’ name and be signed by the business owner/operator.

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