Horry County Police have warned residents they will no longer be able to respond as Hurricane Florence starts to hit the Grand Strand in force.
“Conditions have become too dangerous for public safety crews to respond,” the department tweeted Friday. “Responses will be slow or limited.”
County officials said the 911 system is still able to handle calls, but would not be dispatching first responders in most cases until the storm eases up. More than 34,000 customers had lost power in the storm as of early Friday afternoon. Officials are concerned the situation could become more precarious if flooding starts to cut off roads leading into the region.
“We’re very concerned about the road network that goes into the Myrtle Beach area because it is so low-lying, and it’s a possibility that area could get cut off,” South Carolina National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston told the Charleston Post and Courier as Florence reached the South Carolina border.
Most of Myrtle Beach’s population evacuated ahead of the storm, but thousands still remain to ride it out. Nearly every town and unincorporated Horry County were under a curfew Thursday night. That will likely be the case again Friday.
“We’ve seen probably 75-80 percent compliance with the three evacuation zones (in Horry County),” county emergency management director Randy Webster told reporters on Thursday. “I think the citizens have done their part.”
As of 2 p.m., Hurricane Florence was a Category 1 storm, with wind gusts around 75 miles per hour. Its center was reported close to Shallotte, North Carolina but slowly moving westward towards the South Carolina border and Horry County.