MYRTLE BEACH — Amid the gray, choppy Atlantic waves breaking on the beach, the red Jeep stuck out.

As Hurricane Dorian whipped its way across the Carolina coastline, city officials declared a state of emergency as small pockets of weather-related chaos erupted in the popular resort and tourist destination.

The Jeep with South Carolina tags mysteriously appeared on the beach early Thursday. Later in the evening, it began to slowly drift closer and closer to sea, forcing police officers to set up a perimeter around it.

Myrtle Beach Fire and Rescue plans to leave it in its current spot until Dorian dies down. A TV livestream of the car slowly inching toward the ocean went viral on the internet.

As Dorian slowly approached Myrtle Beach at 8 mph, wind speeds wrecked havoc on several establishments. The Happy Holiday Motel on Ocean Boulevard had its plastic roof ripped off from hurricane-force gusts, leaving debris in a mangled mess in the parking lot.

Even coming off of prime tourism months, Myrtle Beach was unseasonably quiet. Few people wandered the streets and the ones who did were seemingly carefree.

Many flocked to the Myrtle’s pier to watch waves slam against the side of it.

“It shows God’s power,” Edward Jalowski said, marveling at the surf. “I’m not as scared about this one, really more in awe of it.”

Many locals, like Jared Myers, were acting like tourists in their own city.

Dozens flocked to see the internet-famous Jeep slowly move toward the ocean. Others took hurricane selfies.

Hurricane Wire is a pop-up newsletter during hurricane season that delivers anyone who lives on the East Coast all the information they need to know as storms brew in the Atlantic and beyond.

Despite the warnings of Dorian being one of the largest and potentially most deadly hurricanes, residents who were no strangers to Hurricane Florence were unfazed.

“We didn’t even board up our windows,” Myers said. “It’s at arm’s length and we’ve been through worse.”

The largest damage in the area was caused by two tornadoes that popped up as a result of the hurricane.

An hour over the state line, in Carolina Shores, North Carolina, a tornado ripped through the Farm at Brunswick subdivision.

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5715. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

Thomas Novelly reports on crime, growth and development as well as military issues in Berkeley and Dorchester counties. Previously, he was a reporter at the Courier Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a fan of Southern rock, bourbon and horse racing.

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