10.05.2016

Governor delays evacuations in Horry, Georgetown counties but evacuations continue at Ocean Lakes

Gov. Nikki Haley has delayed evacuations of some parts of Horry and Georgetown counties until Thursday morning, but evacuations continue at Ocean Lakes Family Campground ahead of Hurricane Matthew.

The storm’s track shifted east overnight, which is good news for the Myrtle Beach area because it will lessen the storm’s impact here. The storm slowed and is expected to pass the S.C. coast as a Category 2 or Category 3 late Friday and Saturday. It is expected to bring between 4 and 8 inches of rain, high winds and storm surge. But those impacts will depend on how close the storm skirts the coast. The farther east the storm goes, the less the impact on the Myrtle Beach area.

“A lot of uncertainty exists with the track and the subsequent level of impact so please do not let your guard down as the track could change,” National Weather Service forecasters in Wilmington, N.C., said in their advisory Wednesday morning.

Most campers had left Ocean Lakes by Wednesday morning.
Evacuations continue at Ocean Lakes, and many parts of the campground are still scheduled to shut down Wednesday. Our bathhouses and Camptown Center including the Meet n Eat, Sandy Mart and Soapy Suds laundry shut down at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Because of the delay in evacuations in Horry County, guests in the campground can stay until 11 a.m. Thursday, but officials are urging guests to go ahead and evacuate.

“We are encouraging people not to wait,” said Lance Thompson, Ocean Lakes’ General Manager and Vice President.

No lane reversals are planned in Horry County for the evacuations. Haley has said the evacuations likely would be in Zone A, the area east of Kings Highway that includes Ocean Lakes.

Evacuations in the Charleston and Beaufort areas will go as planned at 3 p.m. Wednesday, but with the storm shifting, Haley said at a news conference Wednesday morning that the planned evacuations for Horry and Georgetown counties will be delayed until Thursday morning.

“Because the storm changed, we are changing with the storm,” Haley said.

Ocean Lakes on Wednesday morning.
Based on the storm's current path, the campground will close -- likely some time Thursday - and will stay closed Friday and Saturday.

Power already has been shut off to some of the campsites closest to the beach that are most prone to flooding, including sites in H, HH, I and some of the 2000 sections. We do not have control over the power at the houses/annual lease sites; that would be up to Santee Cooper, our local power provider, if the storm warrants it. 

“If you are planning on staying, you better button up and hunker down,” Thompson said.

Security went door to door in the campground Tuesday asking guests to leave ahead of the storm.

Ocean Lakes will be closed Friday and Saturday. Our team will assess any damage in the park as soon as the storm passes and determine when the campground will reopen. We will keep you updated on the status of the campground -- including any damage and when it will reopen -- on our Facebook page and website.

Guests who have reservations arriving Sunday should wait for word on when the campground will reopen before arriving. Check our Facebook page and website for the latest on when the campground will reopen. Also note, residents who have evacuated likely will be returning to the area Sunday, so traffic could be congested more than usual headed into the beach.

Annual lease site holders will be allowed back in the campground once it reopens.

Local schools and government offices are closed Wednesday.

Haley said there aren't any gas shortages in South Carolina, though some smaller stations might be running out. Hotels in the Midlands are booked, but there's still rooms available in the Upstate for those evacuating, she said.

Haley plans to have another news conference with the latest on the storm Wednesday afternoon.

View of the ocean from the Observation Deck on Wednesday.
Here are a few other reminders:

EVACUATION | Camping 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.

TRAFFIC | No lane reversals for the evacuation are planned in Horry County.
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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.

Those who want to move their campers from storage should have arrived before by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

ANNUAL LEASE SITE OWNERS | If they feel it is necessary, homeowners can board up their windows and doors; there are no restrictions. Annual lease site holders will be allowed back in the campground once it reopens after the storm passes.

CAMPTOWN CENTER, GOLF CARS | Our bathhouses, Golf Car facility, RV Center and Camptown Center that includes Sandy Mart, Meet n Eat and Soapy Suds laundry shut down at 3 p.m. Wednesday and will stay closed until the storm passes.

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 storm information:

Horry County Hurricane Information Center (HorryCounty.org)
South Carolina Emergency Management Division (scemd.org)
NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.gov)
American Red Cross (RedCross.org)
The Sun News (MyrtleBeachOnline.com)
WPDE-TV 15 (wpde.com) – local TV broadcaster
WBTW-TV 13 (wbtw.com) – local TV broadcaster
WMBF-TV 10 (wmbfnews.com) – local TV broadcaster