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Community watchful as Irene nears


By Jim Hulen, North Myrtle Beach Online.com

August 23, 2011 North Myrtle Beach, SC – During the past several days, forecasts moved the bulls eye of Irene’s landfall on, then off, North Myrtle Beach.  As of 11:00 AM today, the Weather Channel meteorologists are making generalized statements the Irene will miss Florida and Georgia and bring destructive winds, flooding, storm surge to the eastern Carolina and, especially North Carolina by Saturday. The Weather Channel is forecasting Irene to be a Category 3 as it passes North Myrtle Beach. Http://www.weather.com/newscenter/hurricanecentral/2011/irene.html.

Fox News is also projecting Irene to be a Category 3 and North Carolina emergency officials have ordered mandatory evacuation for visitors along the outer banks on Wednesday. http://weather.fox.com/Weather. Unfortunately, anyone searching for an official statement from North Carolina’s Division of Emergency Management on the internet will be disappointed. http://www.nccrimecontrol.org/index2.cfm?a=000003

WPDE’s Ed Piotrowski points out that Irene will be passing over warm water the next few days and could grow to a category 4 hurricane. He provides three forecast probabilities with landfall in North Carolina his best estimate. Piotrowski estimates Irene will pass to our east.  Piotrowski further explains that a “landfall near Wilmington would put us at risk for hurricane force winds while a landfall near Morehead City might produce tropical storm force winds along the coast.”   http://www.carolinalive.com/weather/content.aspx?id=477479&sectionnavigation=false

Keep track of Irene by following the links during the day and through the week.

At this point, things look positive for not having a direct hit or facing an evacuation, but do not be lulled into complacency. Continue preparing. Even without a direct hit, the area could face water and electrical outages.

If you have storm panels, stage them underneath each window to raise them with little effort when needed.  Check all batteries.  Be cautious about buying new pershiables that require freezing or refrigeration. Instead, eat well this week and clean out those rib eye, filets and other foods that may spoil if electricity goes out. Replace them with canned goods, but make sure you have a manual can opener (sounds obvious, but ….) Check all the batteries in all flashlights. Make sure various sizes of tarps are available to cover exposed roofs.  Have spare gas available.  Gas stations don’t operate without electricity. Check the chain saw and make sure it will start. You may need it!

Additional information may be found on the Horry County Emergency Management web site at http://www.horrycounty.org/hurricane_info/advisories/nr-082311-0800.pdf.



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