At least 10,000 lose power in S.C. Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Utility crews were still busy at 10 a.m. Saturday trying to restore power to the pockets of Horry County residents who were left in the dark from the heavy wind and rain whipped up by Hurricane Irene.

Penelope Hinson, spokeswoman for Horry Electric, said at 6 a.m., there were 10,000 customers without power. By 10 a.m., crews were contending with approximately 1,256 outages.

Hinson said the outages were spread all across the county. There were no immediate figures available from Santee Cooper.

As the sun rose Saturday morning along the Grand Strand, emergency officials were starting their days with no significant impact from Hurricane Irene.

Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster said there were reports of trees down and sporadic power outages across the area, but no reports of significant damage or injuries.

“Everything went really well,” he said. “We got lucky.”

Officials were out in the county’s unincorporated beaches Saturday morning and reported no significant erosion, Webster added. Similar reports were coming in from the municipal beaches.

Sgt. Jim Shenay with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said there were a few power lines down and a fallen oak tree near a Baptist church at Fourth Avenue North and Kings Highway, but no reports of major accidents or injuries.

He added that lots of alarms went off throughout the night, which is typical with lots of wind.

Mike Fry with North Myrtle Beach Public Safety said their office haven’t received any reports of significant problems. There was some localized flooding on some streets, but the flooding did not exceed what would be experienced in a normal downpour, city spokesman Pat Dowling said.

Some of the damages reported in the city include down trees, power lines and a cable line, according to the public safety department. There were also reports of signs blown off, hanging, or damaged, awnings torn or damaged, light pole damaged, a broken window, and a fence in the roadway at 201 Ninth North.

Power was also out briefly from around 37th Avenue South to 25th Avenue South on Ocean Boulevard stemming from a power line that was down at 27th and Hilton, Dowling said. Santee Cooper has since restored power, he said.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard in Georgetown added they’ve gotten no calls regarding swimmers in distress or boating problems.

The S.C. Highway Patrol’s Web site listed no major accidents through the overnight hours for Horry and Georgetown counties.

Reports from the Horry County Police Department weren’t immediately available.

Staff writer Janelle Frost contributed to this report

Related stories from Idaho Statesman