Florence hotels packed with early evacuees from Myrtle Beach zone A


FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – After Governor Nikki Haley told the State evacuations would take place in the coming days, many people living in zone A in Myrtle Beach packed their bags and headed Inland.

Military retiree, Richard Koethe said he experienced evacuations for Hurricane Gustav when it hit Louisiana in 2008.

Koethe said the evacuation from New Orleans to Alabama took 12 hours for a normally one and a half hour trip. Since he and his wife live about a half mile from the coast they decided to head inland before the rush.

“It wasn’t so much fear of the storm. It was really fear of the unknown with the traffic and you know everybody else would be like. I was joking on an email said we were leaving so we can beat the rush of the other deadbeat retirees,”Koethe explains.

Chad Patterson the General Manager of the Hilton Garden Inn located just off interstate 95 on Hospitality Road in Florence. He told News13 the Hilton Inn filled more than 100 rooms in 45 minutes after Governor Nikki Haley’s press conference Tuesday.

“Coming in from the Coast, we want to make sure they are provided with a safe haven here. That they are in a secure building, they are in a secure location. That they are not out in the rain, they are not out driving in the flood waters. That’s very important, we want to make sure that we provide that,” Patterson said.

Patterson said even though the Hilton Inn in Florence is booked, they are trying to accommodate people the best they can. They are even sending them to other locations and even other hotels in the area.

However, six other hotels on and near Hospitality Road are also booked for Friday and Saturday night.