MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for evacuations of parts of Horry and Georgetown Counties.
Evacuations started at noon on Thursday for those living in Zone A, closest to the ocean. State officials waited so long because Myrtle Beach is expected to be the last area to be hit by Hurricane Matthew.
At the Sand Bucket motel on Ocean Boulevard plywood is going up to cover the front office windows. Some of the motel's guests left Thursday morning while others are planning to wait it out.
One block over several homes is already boarded up. Neighbors left long before the evacuation orders.
"The beachfront properties, there's quite a few people that already left when they came out with the warning. So out here on the beach area it's a little bit slow I think,” said Jeff Kleman who is visiting from Ohio.
Kleman said he’s monitoring weather conditions to decide if he’ll evacuate.
Emergency officials are not expecting any lane reversals. They expect they’ll be able to get everyone out safely, but admit it could take upwards of 15 hours.
Evacuations aren’t mandatory, but Haley did say neighbors who stay are putting the life of emergency officials in danger by staying.
"It's a little nerve-wracking, because they're gonna close everything down and chase everyone out,” said Richard Ward.
Ward spent most of his life in Texas. He's just starting to get used to coastal life and what it brings.
"I was here last year and we had the flood, which was bad. But this is my first experience with a hurricane of this size," Ward said.
The National Weather Service expects the brunt of the impact to hit Myrtle Beach starting Friday night and into Saturday morning.
(© 2017 WXIA)