HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – According to Horry County Emergency Management, beaches in the county were placed on a double red flag warning Monday.
The tweet says the double red flag protocol is in effect for all Horry County beaches, and no swimming is allowed.
In Myrtle Beach, the double red flag signifies that the water is closed to the public. Police posted about the warning Monday afternoon, explaining the current weather forecast indicates a severe risk for rip currents and high surf.
Strong rip currents closed portions of Myrtle Beach just six days ago, according to Myrtle Beach police.
“It’s definitely one of the rougher days we’ve had,” said Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue spokesperson Lt. Jonathan Evans.
Strong wind and rip currents mean Horry County beaches are seeing red.
“We felt it was strong enough and dangerous enough with those undercurrents and rip currents,” Evans told News13. “We want to keep people out the water to prevent anything from happening at all.”
He said it’s the parts of the ocean you can’t see that are the most dangerous.
“You can’t see what’s going on under the water,” he explained. “And you can get into some serious trouble quick.”
Heavy wind and rain usually deter people from heading to the beach—but not all.
“If you’re a surfer and there’s a storm system coming you get excited,” said David Porter, who lives in Conway.
Porter said he does not think the flags were needed Monday.
“You have to exercise caution,” he explained. “But if you’re used to being out in the ocean, days like today it’s nothing new.”
Under double red, beachgoers aren’t allowed past their knees.
We asked Porter if he still planned to go surfing. He replied, “Oh yeah, for sure!”
Lt. Evans said his department can only ask people to exit the waves, and if people do not listen police can get involved.
All day Monday fire rescue will have three vehicles patrolling the shore.
“As we see people attempting to go in the water or possibly getting in the water we’ll try to tell them and educate them as to what’s going on and why it’s good to stay out of the water,” Evans said.
MBFR officials said the double red flags will be up at least through the rest of Monday. On Tuesday lifeguard services will reevaluate the need for them.