Published: 2016-10-06 18:11:00
Updated: 2016-10-06 21:24:31
Posted October 6, 2016
Myrtle Beach, S.C. — Lines of traffic headed north and west are clogging interstates throughout the south as residents evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew.
Near Atlanta, vehicles crawled along Interstate 75 northbound and were backed up for miles with people leaving the coast.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has told residents in coastal areas to head to higher ground. Some were taking the advice and boarding up and heading out, but many others were not.
Storm surge and flooding from 8 to 14 inches of heavy rain forecast are the biggest concerns as Hurricane Matthew approaches the state. The threat is especially strong in low-lying areas.
Throughout the day on Thursday, Haley expanded evacuation orders in South Carolina, including portions of Myrtle Beach. In a Thursday afternoon press conference, she said storm surge in spots could surpass impacts seen from Hurricane Hugo and said residents had until Friday to evacuate.
Hotel rooms in Greenville, Spartanburg and Asheville were already full Thursday and Haley recommended evacuees go to Charlotte. On Thursday evening, 64 shelters were already housing over 1,300 residents in areas surrounding Myrtle Beach, but a number of people decided to stay put in their homes, including longtime resident Bill Bruner.
"I am not going to go down there,” he said. “I am not concerned though. You kind of take it and go with it. I’ve got Spam.”
Bruner also stayed in place when Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989 and expects the latest storm to reshape his town.
"I am trying to record to see how much sand is taken off the beach, if any, after the hurricane," he said.
As many businesses closed early, Adam Cann, who has never been through a hurricane and was visiting Myrtle Beach with family from Ontario, said he would remain near the beach through the storm.
"We've been through snow storms and that's what we get up in Canada," Cann said. "We are in a pretty safe location,so we should be ok."
Horry County officials said National Guard Members are in place in the area to respond to whatever comes.
U-Haul on Thursday night announced that 12 companies across four southeastern states would offer 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage to residents who may be impacted by Hurricane Matthew.