Hurricane UPDATE: Government offices, others are closing
By DEUCE NIVEN
UPDATE/Late Thursday afternoon
Columbus County has declared a state of emergency, that action from commissioner’s chair Ricky Bullard Thursday afternoon follows similar action in Horry County on Wednesday.
Government offices in the Tabor-Loris Community and beyond will be closed tomorrow, including those for Tabor City, Loris, Columbus County, and Horry County.
All courts in both Columbus and Horry will also be closed Friday, and most medical offices will be, too. Hospital emergency departments will remain open.
Schedule changes confirmed Thursday include:
- Columbus County Schools: All facilities will be closed Friday, with students in remote instruction. “Students will be given assignments through Google Classroom, and teachers will be available for questions through email and/or Remind,” Jones said.
- Yam Festival Pageant: North Carolina Yam Festival at Tabor City pageants scheduled for Saturday have been re-scheduled for Oct. 15, Festival Manager Cynthia Nelson said, because the pageants will be held at South Columbus High, and will be unavailable this weekend. Rehearsal at South Columbus High School will begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 13, with the two pageants to begin at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- South Columbus at Pender varsity football. That game will now be played at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Stallion coach Russell Dove said at about 1 p.m. Thursday. Already re-scheduled for tonight (Thursday), the decision to hold off until next week was made early Thursday afternoon.
- Southeastern Community College will be closed Friday and Saturday due to the threat from Hurricane Ian. All activities and all workforce continuing education classes will be impacted.
- Horry County Schools: All facilities will be closed Friday, the district announced Wednesday. The district will operate Friday as an eLearning day (remote) for all students. “School staff members will provide directions for students regarding Friday’s eLearning day,” the announcement said. “Additionally, all after-school activities for Thursday, Sept. 29 and Friday, Sept. 30, are cancelled.”
- GSF football: Because after-school activities are cancelled at the end of the school day Thursday, the Lake View at Green Sea Floyds varsity football game has been rescheduled, again, this time to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3.
- Bog-Off Pageant: With the forecast for improving weather Saturday, Loris Chamber of Commerce officials have re-scheduled the first of two scheduled Bog-Off Festival pageants from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The second pageant, set for 7 p.m., is expected to continue as scheduled.
- Horry: A local state of emergency was declared for Horry County on Wednesday, effective at 9 a.m. Thursday, county government and emergency services moving to OPCON 2 “meaning the county will be operating in a heightened state of awareness with emergency plans beginning to be implemented,” a county news release said. At this point the county’s Emergency Operations Center is not activated, and the county will announce any changes as events warrant. Citizens should prepare for potential flooding, secure properties for the possibility of high winds, and avoid flooded roadways, the news release said.
- Columbus: Columbus County leaders met Tuesday to begin making plans in the event the storm requires local action. No action had been announced as of Wednesday afternoon.
- Tabor City Hall: Closed Friday
- Loris City Hall: Closed Friday
- Columbus County government offices: Closed for non-essential personnel Friday
- Horry County government offices: Closed for non-essential personnel Friday
- Courts in Columbus County, including the Columbus County Courthouse: Closed Friday
- Courts in Horry County: Closed Friday
- Columbus Regional Healthcare System: Outpatient services and local practices: Closed Friday.
- Residential trash collection in Columbus County: Pick-up expected on the normal schedule, with a decision on any change not expected earlier than about 4 a.m. Friday.
- Horry County Solid Waste Authority: All facilities closed Friday. Opening Saturday is planned, if conditions allow.
UPDATE/Early Thursday afternoon
Columbus County Schools will be in “remote instruction” on Friday, the latest schedule change resulting from what was and is expected to become again Hurricane Ian.
After crossing Florida and emerging in the Atlantic, forecasts expect Ian to regain strength and reach hurricane status again later today, with landfall now expected somewhere near Charleston Friday morning, the storm’s center tracking near Columbia and Charlotte, with a wide swath of rain and wind along that path.
That, the National Weather Service says, may change somewhat.
School closing will not impact scheduled after-school activities on Thursday, CCS spokesman Kelly Jones said. It will impact the scheduled North Carolina Yam Festival pageant on Saturday, now re-scheduled for Oct. 15.
Hurricane Ian, wreaking havoc in Florida Wednesday, seemed increasingly unlikely to have a major impact on the Tabor-Loris Community in the days ahead, though it was prompting some schedule changes.
National Weather Service forecasts Wednesday had pushed the cone of potential storm impacts related to Ian to the west, with the storm expected to crawl through Florida on Thursday, emerging in the Atlantic off of Florida before taking a north to northwesterly course over those warm waters and making a second landfall generally south of Charleston before storm remnants move generally towards the North Carolina mountains.
Some decisions on schools and other events were made Wednesday, others are expected Thursday, with modifications possible as the storm’s ultimate path requires.