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Live from Myrtle Beach: Hurricane Isaias leaves behind flooding, near-record high tides

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MYRTLE BEACH — Hurricane Isaias made landfall north of Myrtle Beach on Monday night, with it moving from tropical storm to hurricane at 8 p.m.

The storm arrived with reports of winds of 67 mph in Georgetown County, with forecasters initially predicting winds could reach 85 mph.

Here are the latest updates:

1:15 a.m.

Horry County will close its emergency operations center at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, marking a return to normal operations as Hurricane Isaias completely exits the area.

12:50 a.m.

The National Weather Service recorded 3.11 inches of rain in North Myrtle Beach and 3.03 inches in Conway.

Rain gauges in Myrtle Beach recorded 2.12 inches of rain over the last 24 hours.

12:20 a.m.

Horry County Fire Rescue is sending crews to Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. to assist with the storm response as Hurricane Isaias moves up the coast.

Ocean Isle Beach fire

A fire that Horry County Fire Rescue is aiding in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. (Courtesy of Horry County Fire Rescue)

HCFR spokesperson Tony Casey said several units and a deputy fire chief have been sent to assist with multiple structure fires in the Ocean Isle Beach area near where the hurricane made landfall just across the stateline.

12:10 a.m.

Hurricane Isaias has made landfall in North Carolina. 

At its worst, Isaias nearly caused a record-breaking high tide of 10.18 feet at the Springmaid Pier, according to tidal information provided by the National Weather Service. This is now the third highest mark on record at that location and was just shy of major coastal flooding levels.

Tides are receding and the storm is moving on, but power crews now face widespread power outages as damage assessments begin along the Grand Strand.

The Horry Electric Cooperative reported 2,300 power outages across the county. Santee Cooper had nearly 4,000 customers affected as of midnight.

Pawleys Island Police Department reopened the causeways onto the island shortly before midnight on Monday.

11:40 p.m.

The Cherry Grove area is blocked off to traffic as of 11:30 p.m. due to continued flooding in the area, according to North Myrtle Beach spokesperson Pat Dowling.

11 p.m.

Heavy winds and gusts exceeding 50 miles per hour knocked out power lines and caused some structural damage as well. The Horry Electric Cooperative and Santee Cooper reported more than 1,000 outages respectively across the area as of 11 p.m.

10:15 p.m.

North Myrtle Beach spokesperson Pat Dowling said high water vehicles have been used for rescues near Cherry Grove where some areas have 4 feet of flood waters. Dowling said the tide is slowly going out which should help lower coastal flooding.

“(We) cannot get a fire truck into Cherry Grove yet so we sent a high water rescue vehicle to get the people and their pets out of the house and out of Cherry Grove,” Dowling said.

An electrical issue on 59th Avenue in Cherry Grove required high water vehicles to go in and save residents and their pets, Dowling said.

10:05 p.m.

As the eye of the storm continues to move over Myrtle Beach, more images are surfacing of the situation around the area, including this car that was sinking in Carolina Forest.

Winds have reached as high as 85 mph.

9:50 p.m.

Myrtle Beach Police spokesperson Tom Vest said the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and 3rd Avenue South, near the Sandy Beach Resort, is closed due to coastal flooding.

9:40 p.m.

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.

Midway Fire Spokesperson Mark Nugent said crews responded to flooded homes on the 500 block of Sundial Drive in Litchfield Beach. The water has damaged the electric systems in several homes, but no injuries are reported.

Nugent reminded the public to only use flashlights if the power is out as using a candle could be dangerous. He added the public should assume any downed power lines are live. Midway Fire is responding to many calls for service, some requiring high water vehicles to get past flooded streets. Any precautions that can be taken to avoid an incident helps crews prioritize the most pressing public safety needs.

9:15 p.m.

John Combs was in his 10th floor condo outside of Myrtle Beach when he heard a bang outside. He thought it was just thunder, but when he looked out the window he saw the roof of Apache Pier being ripped off.

“We peaked out and you see it flapping in the wing,” Combs said.

Seeing the pier damaged like that was shocking for him and he quickly pulled out his camera to film the roof flapping in the heavy winds. Combs, from Columbia, typically comes to Myrtle Beach at this time every year and has visited Apache Pier on numerous occasions.

“It was a surprise to see it. You hope it doesn’t get any worse through that tonight,” Combs said.

As far as Combs can tell there is no way to secure the roof tonight. Horry County Fire Rescue spokesperson Tony Casey said the department has not been contacted to assist Apache Pier.

Casey said there haven’t been any calls for assistance due to wind damage yet either.

Combs has never been in Myrtle Beach for a hurricane before, but figured he’d be safe on the 10th floor. At 9 p.m., he reported seeing water rushing up to the dunes and even reaching some beach chairs tied up by lifeguards earlier in the day.

8:35 p.m.

North Myrtle Beach closed Main Street from Ocean Boulevard to Hillside Drive, according to North Myrtle Beach Fire and Rescue.

Storm surge and coastal flash flooding make driving conditions unsafe especially at night. Currently, all of the Grand Strand is under a hurricane warning that includes potential for flooding.

For emergencies it is still appropriate to call 911.

If there is no present danger to life or property, Horry County officials ask the public to call the non-emergency number at 843-248-1520. Members of the public may also call 843-915-5000 through the night to ask non-emergency questions about storm conditions.

8:20 p.m.

As the storm arrives, power remains on for much of the Grand Strand.

According to the company's online map, Santee Cooper reports more than 1,400 customers affected by outages in the Little River area. Other area power providers report less than 100. 

A subsequent tweet from the company indicated that there were just 164 outages as of 9 p.m.

Earlier in the day, the Horry Electric Cooperative posted on social media that it would have crews working to keep the power on until winds exceed 35 miles per hour. 

HEC is assisted by crews from several surrounding states that have come to the area as a part of the recovery effort. 

The main electricity providers for Horry and Georgetown counties — HEC, Santee Cooper and Santee Electric Cooperative — maintain outage maps on their respective websites. 

8 p.m.

A tornado watch is in effect until 2 a.m. Tuesday for Horry and Georgetown counties. As of 8 p.m., the NWS has issued a tornado warning for east central Horry County. A flash flood watch remains in effect for the Grand Strand.

Cpl. Thomas Vest with Myrtle Beach Police Department said there is some minor flooding on low-lying roadways.

Isaias is expected to make landfall tonight near the South Carolina/North Carolina state line, NWS radar shows.

During daylight hours Monday, overcast weather and light rain did not keep beachgoers from visiting the ocean in Myrtle Beach. Many beachwear stores and restaurants remained open along Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard despite the approaching storm.

Red Hot Shoppe owner Bob Mills began boarding up his Ocean Boulevard store around 6 p.m. Monday, but ended up boarding up only half of his shop due to oncoming rain.

"Everybody's not really scared of it," he said.

The business was one of few on the Boulevard with boards across the windows.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.

Reach Hannah Strong at 843-277-4687. Follow her on Twitter @HannahLStrong.

Hannah Strong covers education in Horry and Georgetown counties. She is a native of Pawleys Island and graduate of Winthrop University. In her free time, she likes to read, surf and cook.

Myrtle Beach Reporter

Tyler Fleming covers Myrtle Beach and Horry County for the Post & Courier. He graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in history and political science. Tyler likes video games, baseball and reading.

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