Severe Weather Thursday March 18

Many government offices across Horry County closed early Thursday ahead of a strong storm system that's expected to move through the area.

County government offices and facilities closed at 2 p.m.

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority's recycling and convenient centers also closed at 2 p.m., and recreation events at county centers and fields were canceled Thursday afternoon.

Myrtle Beach International Airport remains open. However, passengers should check the status of their flights with the airlines.

City of Myrtle Beach offices closed at 3 p.m. while after-school and evening activities were canceled. The Kids’ Track-and-Field Day at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium has been postponed. 

Municipal court in Myrtle Beach closed at 2 p.m. and cases scheduled for 5 p.m. will be continued, according to a news release from the city. The Pee Dee Streetrodders’ Car and Truck Show closed at 1 p.m.

City of Conway offices closed at 3 p.m. All youth sports activities and fitness classes scheduled for Thursday afternoon have been canceled.

Horry County Schools shifted to virtual learning Thursday, and Coastal Carolina University made the same move at 12:15 p.m. 

Surfside Beach officials asked residents not to put their recycling carts at the curb Thursday. The town's public works department will begin picking up recycling an hour later Friday to give residents time to put their cans out then. 
 
The latest forecast from the National Weather Service shows a strong cold front driving a line of storms across the state. There is an increased risk for severe thunderstorms capable of producing winds of over 60 mph, tornadoes and large hail.

The NWS also noted that frequent lightning is expected, especially with the intense storms.

Although the storms are expected to arrive by 3 p.m., the greatest risk for severe weather is from 5-6 p.m., the NWS said. The worst of the storms should roll out of the area by 9 p.m.

Just before 12:45 p.m., WMBF Chief Meteorologist Jamie Arnold said that the threat level for severe weather had been reduced from Level 4 (high) to Level 3 (moderate). 

"While the threat of widespread damaging winds and strong tornadoes is slightly less, there are still plenty of ingredients in place to support a risk of severe storms," Arnold said in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon.

Arnold noted that the risk of a tornado did drop slightly down to a 10% chance, but he still reminded residents to be prepared.

"If you had a 10% chance of being in a serious car accident today, you'd take measures to stay safe. Same applies today with the 10% tornado risk," Arnold said in a Facebook post. "It's a low risk but potentially high impact."

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