Grand Strand prepares for Tropical Storm Andrea

The S.C. Emergency Management Division, county emergency managers and state agencies are beginning to prepare for Tropical Storm Andrea.

Horry County, Georgetown County and Florence County have moved to Operating Condition Level 4 (OPCON 4) in preparation.

OPCON 4 puts the county on "Alert" status, which means county officials have begun discussions with South Carolina Emergency Management, the National Weather Service and other coastal communities.

The Horry County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is NOT activated at this time, however Horry County Emergency Management will continue to keep the public aware of changes in the forecast and appropriate action will be taken as necessary.

Below is some information from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division on what to look out for and to keep in mind:

With the potential for 2 to 4 inches of rain in our area, some localized flooding is possible.

During a Flood:

- Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.

- If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.

- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.


- You can get updated information from the WPDE NewsChannel 15 weather team on our Hurricane Central page here.

- Visit for updates and preparation information

- SCEMD will be posting information via social media such as Twitter and Facebook, @SCEMD {<}{>} using hashtags #scwx, #sctweets #TSAndrea.

- All SCEMD social feeds are here:

- Real-time travel information from SCDOT:

The Coast Guard is urging the maritime community and the boating public to track Tropical Storm Andrea's progress and take early action to protect themselves and their vessels.

Here are a few tips to help mariners protect themselves, their families and their vessels:

· If local authorities issue an evacuation notice, take heed and know the evacuation routes.

· Do not go out to sea in a recreational boat if you know a tropical system is approaching.

· Contact your local marinas to ask for advice about securing your vessel. Marina operators are knowledgeable and can advise you on the best methods for securing your boat.

· Ensure boating gear is properly stowed or tied down to avoid causing unnecessary searches by the Coast Guard and other first responders. Life jackets, life rafts, and small non-powered vessels are some examples of boating equipment often found adrift following severe weather.

· Take action now. The effects of a tropical system can be felt well in advance of the storm itself and can prevent the safe completion of preparations.

· After the storm passes, check with local authorities before entering any storm-damaged area. Do not rush to your boat - boat owners should not place themselves in danger in order to survey damage.

· Do not try to reach your boat if it has been forced into the water and is surrounded by debris. Wait until authorities have made safe access available.

· Do not try to board a partially sunken boat; seek salvage assistance from a professional.

Stay clear of beaches. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe.

At the North Myrtle Beach Home Depot Thursday, no one was buying plywood for their windows, and there were more than enough batteries and flashlights on store shelves to go around.

But as the storm approached, store employees say a few customers were asking for typical hurricane season items.

"Getting things prepared in case it does get worse. Mops, extension cords, wet vacs, filters," said employee Jose Diaz.

The maintenance staff at a North Myrtle Beach resort decided it was a good day to get prepped for the season, starting with rain suits for their employees.

"We have a lot of safety procedures and stuff that we have to go through for the safety of our guests and the welfare of our employees," said Dwight Allen of Windham Seawatch Plantation.

Vernon and Tanna Litton purchased lumber for a home project, not for hurricane season. As long-time Grand Strand residents, they know it's not prudent to wait for the rain to start falling before getting ready.

"We've been here for 18 years and we've been through a few of them and we stayed through a few of them, and it's kind of scary if you wait too long, I think," said Tanna Litton.

The Littons say maybe Andrea can be a positive thing as an early warning of what's ahead, but as one North Myrtle Beach homeowner asked, does it really have to start this early?

"I think it means we're going to have a long season. If we're already starting with "A" on June 6th, we're in for a long haul," said Tony Spano.