The tourist magnet of Myrtle Beach was a ghost town on Thursday morning with the impending approach of Hurricane Florence, aside from a few dozen locals who had decided to leave the monstrous storm on the coast.
The life-threatening hurricane, which has ten million people on its way, began to lash North Carolina with wind and rain this morning. Winds of 105 mph are expected along with storms of 9 to 13 feet in some areas.
The storm is expected to land on Friday morning and settle on the Carolina coast for at least 36 hours.
The last remaining residents of Myrtle Beach, including these children outside The Oasis Motel, are preparing on Thursday for the arrival of the category two storm. The authorities ordered everyone to evacuate
Myrtle Beach is mostly deserted, apart from beach lovers and people strolling through the beachfront areas, just hours before Hurricane Florence makes landfall along the coasts of North Carolina and Carolina. South.
The wide streets of the tourist hot spot would generally be crowded with visitors at the end of summer, but they remained silent on Thursday after almost all of the 33,000 residents of the city were evacuated, as were many more in the metropolitan area in general.
Frank Rose is one of those who stand still. The 56-year-old pilot said he had decided to stay and that his waterfront home was hurricane-proof with rugged cement siding, reinforced windows and lift in 12-foot towers
Florence has been demoted from category 4 to category 1 hurricane, but authorities continue to urge people to evacuate because it is no less dangerous and is expected to cause life-threatening floods.
In Myrtle Beach, the locals enjoyed a relatively quiet morning before the wind and waves rose at lunchtime.
Most of the restaurants, bars, hotels and shops on the waterfront were boarded up, including the historic 14th Avenue Pier, which suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Frank Rose, 56, was taking a walk on the beach from his home in Surfside, a few miles from the coast. The Pittsburgh native moved to the beach town in February after spending a vacation with his family in South Carolina for many years.
"I'm a pilot, so I'm used to bad weather," he said. Rose, who flies for American Airlines, said she had decided to stay and that her waterfront home was hurricane-proof with reinforced concrete walls, reinforced windows and elevation in 12-foot towers.
"I have a lot of food and it's just me, so I have beer," he joked. He said that most of his neighbors had followed the warnings and left the city. "Everyone went wrong, there are some people who have retired here and some vacation rentals, they are all gone.
"I was on the beach at 6 in the morning and I was talking to the police, they are going to have a curfew at 8 o'clock tonight, but once the storm starts around 5 pm, I do not think they will go to answer anyone. "
Ritchie Lawton, 20, Kenda Payton, 57, Joe Freeman, 20, and Taylor James, 19, pictured at sea in Myrtle Beach on Thursday, also plan to get out of the storm
Most of the restaurants, bars, hotels and shops on the waterfront were bricked up, including the historic 14th Avenue Pier, which suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Security forces patrol Myrtle Beach on Thursday. Local police warned residents who choose not to evacuate that, if something happens, they will be on their own.
A chain of bars in Myrtle Beach is surrounded after the residents of the city of South Carolina left in preparation for Hurricane Florence
Florence is forecast to shed up to 40 inches of rain in some areas after touching land in North and South Carolina on Thursday night or Friday. In the photo: boarded shops in Myrtle Beach
The owners of The Oasis Hotel had installed barriers on the doors to try to prevent the interior of the property from flooding during the hurricane
Several people were seen walking down a balcony towards the back of the motel when this picture was taken on Thursday afternoon
Businesses and homes in Myrtle Beach were bricked up and thousands of people moved to emergency shelters on Thursday
Rose said she thought there were more people this time than in the previous hurricanes. & # 39; I just moved here in February, but had a planned vacation during the last [Hurricane Matthew] two years ago and it seemed that many people stayed then. This time not so many.
"I think this was taken seriously, they made a lot of noise about the stools and the size of this thing.
"It has been degraded to a category 2, but the problem is that if it moves down on the coast, it will throw a lot of rain and cause a lot of flooding."
Jamie Pride, 33, was on the beach with Lucas, 15, Emery, Paxton, seven and 20 months.
She and her family, who have lived in Myrtle Beach for seven years, decided to stay because she is a nurse and her husband also works in the field of medicine.
Although it was not mandatory to stay, they were asked to stay longer because of their jobs.
"There are evacuation zones 1, 2 and 3," he said. "We live beyond Zone 3 near the Coastal University, we just arrived at the beach to see how it looked out here.
Duffy's, which boasts "hot beer, terrible food and poor service," was one of the many companies that closed their doors in preparation for the storm.
Myrtle Beach has a population of around 32,000 and attracts thousands of tourists each year. In the photo: a walled restaurant near the seafront
A private weather forecast firm estimates that Hurricane Florence will cause between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000 million in economic damages
The governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, said residents were running out of time to evacuate safely, although most of the people of Myrtle Beach had already done so.
Margaritaville and Jimmy Buffet's popular Broadway at the Beach look like a ghost town just hours before hurricane Florence makes landfall
The Ferris wheel was completely still, while these large blocks of apartments on the seafront were almost completely deserted.
She said many of her neighbors had left to stay with her family in the north and in Florida. "We have friends who stay with us because their husband is a fireman and can not leave.
We went shopping, we removed the fence and we have a generator if the electricity is cut off. We're going to crouch & # 39;
Jim Holliday was on the beach taking pictures with his wife April and friend Linda Anama who lives in Surfside.
He said: We live in Forestbrook, which is on the intercoastal waterway. I was born and raised in Horry County and never left for a hurricane.
& # 39; We have food and we will board a big window & # 39;
Linda had decided to take refuge with the Hollidays in her house to get out of the storm. "I've been here since 1984 after moving from Virginia," he said. "We went through Hugo and it was very bad.
"We had friends who had gone inland to the city of Florence and a tornado tore the roof right out of their hotel."
Myrtle Beach is mostly deserted, apart from beach lovers who stayed despite repeated calls from the authorities to leave.
Schools and businesses closed south to Georgia, airlines canceled about 1,200 flights and counting, and coastal cities in the Carolinas are largely emptied. On the photo: Riley's Super Fun Zone in Myrtle Beach
Meteorologists said that given the size of the storm and the slowness of the road, it could cause epic damage similar to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floods flooding homes and businesses
Residents and business owners left messages on their windows, including this one that said "Florence … the season is over! Go away! Please … & # 39;
A small number of locals who refuse to leave stand in front of The Oasis Motel and Apartments in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Taylor James, 19, was watching the waves under the pier with her boyfriend, Joe Freeman, 20, his mother, Kenda Payton, 57, and his friend, Richie Lawton, 20.
The art student, who grew up in Myrtle Beach, said: "My dad stayed with Hugo and he was fine, we think it's going to be the same, and we're much more prepared now in our house than we were then. and water, and we actually live about 20 miles away in Conway. "
Kenda Payton, who is originally from Iowa but spent 22 years in South Carolina, said: "I had never seen so many people leave." People ignored the warnings, and in Conway, stores closed four days earlier, making it difficult preparation of people. "
The video of drones and dashcam recorded on Wednesday shows how quiet the city has become, and suggests that most of the 32,000 residents of the city have already left.
Mandatory orders were applied to most of the coast of South Carolina and parts of North Carolina and Virginia.
The video of drones captured on Wednesday night in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, shows that the generally bustling city is practically deserted
Many of the city's residents appear to have joined the 300,000 residents of South Carolina who evacuated on Wednesday.
& # 39; Myrtle Beach is like a ghost town. We've only lived here for three years, but we have friends who have lived here all their lives and have never experienced or seen the city so creepy, "resident Rodger Maybey told Stuff.
In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, all residents had to leave before 8 pm Wednesday, otherwise no emergency assistance would be provided.
Caroline Ciener spent the day boarding her parents' house. "We are addressing today," he told ABC11.
It's hot. It's not fun, but it's all we can do at this point. We are trying to remove everything from the bottom of the garage, as we are sure there will be water. "
Myrtle Beach's Dashcam videos (also taken on Wednesday) were mostly abandoned, apart from some news vans
The same happened in many coastal areas of the Carolinas and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday morning, after the evacuation of 1.7 million people was ordered. In the photo: Myrtle Beach
HURRICANE FLORENCE IN NUMBERS
The outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still deadly hurricane Florence began to lash out at North Carolina on Thursday.
As the monstrous storm progresses for a prolonged stay, here is a breakdown by numbers:
- Florence clocked 90 mph winds on Thursday after being demoted to Category 1
- The storm was already generating 83 feet waves in the sea on wednesday
- Storm Threats That Threaten Life Up 13 feet they were also predicted in some areas
- It is predicted that Florence will accumulate 40 inches of rain in some areas after touching land in North and South Carolina
- Potentially 10 billion gallons of rain is expected in the southern states in the next week
- An estimate 10 million people live in areas that are expected to be under a hurricane or storm warning
- Until 1.7 million people they were ordered to evacuate before the hurricane
Authorities predict that Florence could cause $ 170 billion in property damage, but many businesses are already suffering an economic blow from the loss of business.
Chapel Hill has been hit by the closure of the University of North Carolina, with its 55,600 employees and students ordered to evacuate and the first soccer game of the year canceled.
The cancellation of the game will only take away $ 8 million in potential economic benefit from local areas.
"With the campus closed and the football game canceled, there's a lot of anxiety in local businesses," local chamber of commerce CEO Aaron Nelson told CBS.
"UNC only has about six home games each season and losing one of them is really a big problem."
The historic port city of Charleston, South Carolina, suffered heavy flooding during tropical storm Irma last year, and officials warn that the impact of Florence is expected to be worse.
Many of the city's residents had left on Wednesday, joining 300,000 of their fellow South Carolinians also fleeing that day.
But despite the orders, some residents stay.
Tim Terman and his wife live in Southport, North Carolina, and plan to get out of the storm.
& # 39; Once you leave, [it will be] It's hard to go back in to verify the damage, "he told CNN." My house is all my wife and I have, materially speaking, a lifetime of things. "
Several roads in the Carolinas became one-way streets so that everyone could escape in cars laden with possessions.
Other infrastructure has stopped, with the Charleston International Airport between several closed until at least Saturday, and Amtrak pulling trains going to Virginia and stops south of Washington, DC.
Rail services are expected to restart on Monday, weather permitting.
Many of Charleston's residents had left on Wednesday, joining 300,000 of their South Carolinians peers also fleeing that day.
Charleston (pictured Wednesday night) saw heavy flooding during tropical storm Irma last year, and authorities warn that Florence's impact is expected to be worse
In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, all residents had to leave before 8 pm on Wednesday (this boarded store is shown earlier in the day)
Businesses like this one in Wrightsville Beach (pictured on Wednesday) will receive a blow from the storm, both in property damage and in business losses
Many doors in Charleston were piled up with sandbags since the owners took precautions to try to prevent flood waters from entering.