Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Evacuation underway at Ocean Lakes, planned for other coastal properties as Hurricane Matthew approaches

UPDATE | Evacuations in Horry and Georgetown counties have been delayed until Thursday morning because Hurricane Matthew's projected path has shifted east. Gov. Nikki Haley announced the delays Wednesday morning. Ocean Lakes continues to evacuate. Get the latest here: bit.ly/2dSmqzQ

Original post:

Gov. Nikki Haley has planned an evacuation of coastal areas (Zone A: east of U.S. 17 Business/ Kings Highway) including Ocean Lakes Family Campground as a powerful Hurricane Matthew continues to track toward the S.C. coast.

Evacuations are scheduled to start about 3 p.m. Wednesday, but guests can start leaving as soon as possible. Local schools and government offices will be closed Wednesday.

“We are expecting everybody to have to leave the campground,” said Lance Thompson, Ocean Lakes' General Manager and Vice President.

Hurricane Matthew is projected to hug the S.C. coast, bringing 5- to 7-foot storm surges and 40 mph winds. The storm is expected to hit the area as a Category 2 or Category 3 starting Friday evening and continuing into Saturday, Haley said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

"At this point we need to be smart and be cautious," Haley said.

All Ocean Lakes' guests are encouraged to heed the evacuation plan and leave the campground. As Hurricane Matthew approaches, our team will prepare for the storm, which includes possibly shutting off utilities and blocking some access gates.

There is no timeframe when the utilities might be shut off.

Guests who do not evacuate will likely end up without power or water and could get stuck in the campground.

“Keep in mind we can’t guarantee your safety” if you do not evacuate, Thompson said.

About 3,700 law enforcement officers are teed up to help with the coastal evacuations, but expect the routes headed out of the beach including S.C. 544 to be packed.

“It’s not going to be a fast evacuation,” Haley said.

State officials will continue to monitor the storm's projected path and update the plan as needed, she said.

Here are a few other reminders:

EVACUATIONCamping guests should stop in the Main Office as they depart.
Guests will receive a refund or may apply the balance to another reservation if they choose to depart prior to their scheduled departure date. 

If you choose to depart (prior to you scheduled departure date) due to a storm after the Main Office has closed for the night, make sure you turn your car pass in to the Main Gate and let them know it is an early departure. (The car pass will help us know the date to use for your refund.) The Main Office is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
RESERVATIONS | You can modify or change your reservation at any time. Ocean Lakes is waiving the usual fee. Call 1-800-722-1451 and one of our teammates will help you. Our reservations line is extremely busy, so please be patient. If you get on hold, do not hang up – a teammate will connect with you shortly. Our lines are manned 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

CAMPER STORAGE | If you choose to remove your camper from storage, call 1-800-722-1451 to make arrangements. It’s your call whether to remove it from storage based on the latest forecast and the insurance you carry on your RV. Our team monitors the storage lots through the storm and takes any action we can, but there’s just no way of knowing what this storm could do.

Reminder that the governor-ordered evacuation is set to start at 3 p.m. Wednesday, so we advise those who want to move their campers from storage arrive before then.

ANNUAL LEASE SITE OWNERS | If they feel it is necessary, homeowners can board up their windows and doors; there are no restrictions.

CAMPTOWN CENTER, GOLF CARS | Our Golf Car facility and Camptown Center that includes Sandy Mart, Meet n Eat and Laundry will close at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

POOLS | Our pools will be closed Wednesday and will stay closed until further notice.

CHURCH | The Ocean Lakes church service Sunday is canceled.

UPDATES | Closely watch the forecasts. The storm can quickly change paths. We will continue to post updates on Facebook and our website, OceanLakes.com.

Here are a few more websites that post the latest information:

Horry County Hurricane Information Center (www.horrycounty.org)  
·      South Carolina Emergency Management Division (www.scemd.org)  
·      NOAA -National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (www.noaa.gov)
·      American Red Cross (www.redcross.org)  
·      The Sun News (www.myrtlebeachonline.com)  
·      WPDE-TV 15 (www.wpde.com) - a local TV broadcaster  
·      WBTW-TV 13 (www.wbtw.com) - a local TV broadcaster  
·      WMBF-TV 10 (www.wmbfnews.com) - a local TV broadcaster  
·      FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency (www.fema.gov)  

 Keep an eye on Matthew's projected path. We will continue to update you.

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