Irene to Skim by Myrtle

 12 AM Saturday update

Winds are close to 40 miles per hour in gusts at Myrtle at midnight and should peak near 50-55 predawn. The more compelling piece of data is that the winds at Wlimington NC have backed to the north suggesting Irene will come close to a landfall at Cape Hatteras in the early afternoon Saturday.

Pressures are rising at Savannah Ga. and Charleston SC as Irene has now passed to the east of those coastal cities by a few hundred miles. By sunrise, Irene will be east of the Grand Strand by 150 miles, setting the stage for the heaviest rains to shift away to the north into eastern North Carolina.

I would expect a very windy morning at Myrtle with leftover showers giving way to an afternoon of drying with the sun breaking through the clouds.

Overnight winds will be 35-55 miles per hour and those values will hold on thru noon. By afternoon, the winds will still be formidable in the 25-45 mile per hour range.

What it all means is Mrytle has taken a glancing blow and the Grand Strand is open for business all weekend long. Scattered power outs and ocean flooding have occured.

COMMENTS FROM MYRTLE AND THE STORM

Tony,
 
There are a few roads that have water, but the area is not that bad.  Still have electricity and cars are still on the road traveling.  We have had big gusts of wind and hours of rain, but no big problems.  The schools were let out at 11 this morning and many businesses closed around 4.  We are expecting the wind and rain throughout the evening and should be finished with the storm by early afternoon,  The beaches are completely covered with water.  The waves are hitting the dunes.  The marsh areas are completely flooded but no causeways or bridges are closed.
 
David Fattaleh
 

 

As your comment come in, I am posting them and giving some perspective where applicable.

Hi Tony,
Erin Cremeans Tassen commented on your status.
Erin wrote: "We are still here at Land's End Resort. Only have partial power as of now. Lots of wind and rain!!"
 

 

Hi Tony,
Rick Martin commented on your status.
Rick wrote: "TONY, PARTS OF GARDEN CITY FLOODED, HIGH TIDE AND THE MOON."

Tony adds...this is tidal flooding from the pile up of water from the ocean. With the north wind blowing from land to sea, the storm surge that will swamp Eastern NC will not occur along the Strand.

Rick also wrote: "TONY HERE A LIVE CAM FROM OUR BOARDWALK. ALSO The chance of tornadoes is increasing just to our north across portions of Southeastern NC. No tornado threat for the Grand Strand.

http://www.facebook.com/l/yAQDJ3WO3/www.earthcam.com/usa/southcarolina/myrtlebeach/%23.TlglNUkXmxk.facebook"

The north wind I mentioned below PREVENTS TORNADO development across the Strand. Again where the winds blow from the east and southeast up the coast, that's where twisters can form.

8 PM Friday Update

Let's start tonight's Myrtle briefing with a look at the Myrtle Beach weathercam.

http://www.earthcam.com/usa/southcarolina/myrtlebeach/

Most of the afternoon, squally rains have been straffing across the famous Grand Strand penetrating only a few miles inland. That's important since Irene's effects are mainly going to be a coastal phenom with areas 10-20 miles inland getting away very much scott free.

So far rain has not backed to I-95 in South Carolina and is not likely to impact areas much farther west than say Conway.

The forecast for Myrtle and the 60 miles of the Grand Strand remains the same. More wind and rain toward the NC-SC border, less south to Georgetown.

Greg Crewa from the Mayor's office at Myrtle told me this afternoon that while the beaches were open, swimming in the rough surf was not being permitted by lifeguards. He expects that ban to be lifted on Sunday if not Saturday afternoon. (Editor's footnote: Why would lifeguards be out? To protect those daring/foolish enough to test such rough waters).

Winds have been clocked to 40 miles per hour this evening at the Myrtle airport (right on the beach) and will remain at Tropical Storm force overnight into Saturday morning. That means winds of 35-55 miles per hour will linger for another 6-10ours especially on the north end of the Strand.

The heaviest rains will be moving away by dawn with lingering morning showers ending by noon in South Carolina. The sun will appear in the afternoon as things begin to dry out.

Sunday looks grand at the Strand with hot sunshine and an off shore breeze as highs head for 90.

2 AM Friday Update

I have just sent my friends in Philly and South Jersey a late night update on Irene. An historic event seems likely there.

For Myrtle Beach goers, I am standing pat on my forecast. I will adjust the top winds to 60 miles per hour for Calabash and Little River, scaling back to 50 miles for most of the Grand Strand.

Far Northeastern Horry and eastern Brunswick Counties are likely to see some power outs but most areas south and west of North Myrtle Beach city should not go dark.

Likewise, inland golf courses like Myrtle Beach National and the Legends are less susceptible to wind damage compared to the courses around Calabash (Heather Glen, Carolina Shores and Oyster Bay).

If you have reservations to check in Saturday, call ahead, but right now I sense you will be able to get into Myrtle Beach rather easily in the late afternoon-evening. Best to come in on Rt.41 and 501 from Conway. Avoid taking route 17 out of Brunswick County NC.

As for flooding, there will be nuisance coastal flooding due to the pounding surf, but with the wind blowing from land to sea most of the time, serious sea water flooding is not likely.

Then there is the issue of fresh water flooding from rain. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect. Again, I expect less rain in Horry County as compared to Brunswick County.

I will update the Grand Strand forecast all day long on Friday and Saturday, so check back. I will also try to answer e-mails as time permits.

In my original posting, I have documented your weather forecast for the weekend at Myrtle. I see no compelling reason to alter that as of 2 AM Friday.

 Strand to Get Glancing Irene Blow

 
The magnificent Myrtle Beach Grand Strand is one of America’s top seaside vacation stops. No wonder! You see the Strand’s 30 miles of beaches from north of Georgetown to Calabash on the North Carolina border attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every summer.
 
Among the special visitors to Myrtle this summer, Huntington native John Narcise (a long time resident of North Myrtle) tells me a giant manatee made its way all the way into the Murrells Inlet in early August. Here’s a look at a U-Tube view of the 500 pound sea cow taking a drink of water while sunbathing in the Inlet.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTJytu1vcOk
 
From prime golf courses (my favs are  Carolina Shores and Oyster Bay) to a fabulous boardwalk, this tropical getaway offers something for everyone. Like to fish, then try the Garden City Pier or wade the surf for whiting, pompano, flounder and bluefish. If the catch of the day eludes you, there are restaurants galore to please even the most discerning palate.
 
Of course nothing can spoil a summer vacation more than rain. In summer, the rain game gets ratcheted up a few notches as hurricane season kicks in.
 
Turns out, once or twice a summer-fall, a hurricane gets close enough to raise a few eyebrows at the Strand. One of those times is right now as powerful Hurricane Irene is churning up the surf as she rampages through the Bahamas early this Thursday morning.
 
I have been watching Irene closely for 3 days now, focusing my attention particularly on Myrtle Beach. If you read my early week blog or watched my shows on WSAZ-NEWSCHANNEL 3, I have stated “to go ahead with your plans” but be nimble in case Irene takes a stab at the Strand.
 
The data is compelling that Irene will pass some 100 miles east of Myrtle Beach late Friday night-Saturday. A course like that will produce 4 discernible trends for vacationers.
 
1.    Hurricane conditions will most likely stay well east of the shoreline leaving winds in the 30-50 mile per hour range at beachfront for a 4-8 hour period late Friday night-Saturday morning. That will likely create some minor power flickers.
 
2.    Rains will be squally or showery in nature Friday night into early Saturday. No fresh water flooding is expected, though some minor high water at high tide will occur in back bays and inlets like those near Pauley’s Island and Indian River.
 
3.    The surf will build slowly on Thursday with rip currents and a strong undertow keeping life guards on their toes. Best to swim in water no deeper than your waist under those conditions.
 
By Friday, as the hurricane approaches from the south, many beaches will have to be closed as the rising tides make any swimming dangerous. Since the air will be warm and sunshiny in between the squalls, best to stay at your hotel pool.
 
By Saturday afternoon as the hurricane gains latitude and passes Myrtle to the north, a gorgeous tropical sky will signal the all clear. Gusty winds north will still blow some sand in your fudgy-wudgy (a northerner’s term for fudgicle) and the offshore wind (wind from land to sea) will still kick up the surf.
 
If all goes according to my game plan, things will be back to normal by Sunday with likely a minimum amount of problems having occurred. Tropically hot sunshine will push temperatures back to 90 so slap on an SPF 30 as you jump in the now calm ocean.
 
Of course the surf will be a bit cloudy from the passage of the storm, so plan on walking into the water with some foot protection (sandals, flip-flops).
 
Here’s your hurricane tracking chart from the National Hurricane Center.
 
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
 
Check back with me Thursday afternoon and Friday as I update your Myrtle Beach specific forecast.
 
BTW, the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce did not pay me for this blog, I just like to talk Myrtle in summer. Makes me wish I was a kid again!
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