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Health Insurance Plans Made Easy and Affordable

Trying to find the right health insurance plan for you or your family can be a complex, often difficult task. Just trying to find the best carrier can be stressful and confusing on its own. That is why the Health Insurance Solutions Team was founded – to take the stress and confusion out of the health insurance process. Our goal is to help hardworking men and women find the best protection for their unique needs.

Unlike some health insurance brokers, we make every effort to learn about the kind of health insurance you really need. When you speak with an agent from The Health Insurance Solutions Team, know that we will never try to upsell you on a plan that you can’t afford. Instead, your knowledgeable, helpful health insurance agent in Myrtle Beach will help you navigate the uncertain waters of the health insurance world. Once we understand the health insurance plan you need, we will explore your options. That way, you can leave our conversation feeling informed about your health insurance options and confident that you are making the best choice possible.

We are proud to have served people just like yourself for more than 15 years at the Health Insurance Solutions Team. We have helped countless individuals, families, and business owners find the coverage they need at a price that won’t send them into bankruptcy. If you know that you need health insurance but don’t know how to start or what to look for, we’ve got good news – you’re in the right place.

Do You Really Need Health Insurance?

Before we talk about the solutions that our health insurance broker in Myrtle Beach provides, we should address the elephant in the room. Everyone regardless of age or health, can benefit from a health insurance plan. Even the healthiest of people want to maintain their health and have protection in the event of a catastrophe. One of the best ways to stay healthy and plan for unexpected events is to visit your doctor for an annual check-up. When you have a health insurance plan, these visits are often fully covered by your insurance carrier when you choose an in-network doctor. Without health insurance, you will be responsible for the full cost of any medical care – even routine check-ups with your primary care physician. If something horrible happens, and you don’t have health insurance, you may have to pay the full amount for the emergency care you receive. Even young, healthy individuals can benefit from the right health plan. After all, nobody plans on getting sick or injured, but bad things can happen to anyone. Something unexpected like a broken leg can cost more than $7,000 to treat when you don’t have coverage. A three-day stay in a hospital can cost upwards of $30,000. That can be an incredible amount of money to pay out of pocket. Having a health insurance plan set in place can help you get quality care at a much more affordable price, especially if something unforeseen happens.

Do You Really Need Health Insurance?

Who We Serve

At the Health Insurance Solutions Team, our mission is to educate and empower our clients so that they can get the best access to medical care possible. Because everyone has their own unique set of needs when it comes to health plans, we serve a wide range of clients.

Individuals

Individual plans, also called personal health plans, are health insurance policies that you can purchase solely for yourself. When you work with Health Insurance Solutions, your health insurance agent in Myrtle Beach will go over your health plan options and help find the best fit for your needs. Individual health plans are not tied to your employer, so you can make a career change without having to worry about losing your health insurance. For individual plans, we offer major medical, short-term, and fixed benefit plans that include life, dental, vision, and other coverage options.

Families

Finding the right health plan for your family can be a real challenge, but our experienced health insurance agents are here to help. We understand that not all members of your family will have the same needs. To help your family get the best coverage possible, we search for custom plans that will meet each of your family members’ needs. Whether you’re looking for major medical coverage or fixed-benefit plans with no deductibles, our experts are here to serve you. Common coverage options include vision, dental, life, STD and LTD, long-term care, and more.

diagnoses

Self-Employed

Entrepreneurs have their own set of needs in terms of health plans and how much they can afford to spend on coverage. Once thought of as a small percentage of the workforce, 57 million Americans freelanced in 2019 alone, according to the Upwork and Freelancers Union. If you are a consultant, independent contractor, or freelancer, the Health Insurance Solutions Team will find a plan that caters to your current needs and future endeavors. Common health insurance plans for self-employed people include vision, life, dental, and stand-alone prescription coverage. We also offer major medical, supplemental, short-term, and fixed-benefit plans at a range of prices that you can afford.

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Small Business

Offering health insurance to your employees is one of the best ways to keep your team happy and attract diligent workers to your company. If you are a business owner who wants to provide health insurance to your employees but cannot do so because the cost of benefits is too high, worry not. Our experienced health insurance agents will work directly with your employees to help them find the coverage they can afford. We also offer hybrid plans that can be customized so that both you and your employee’s needs are met. Whether you need a major medical package or voluntary benefits only, the Health Insurance Solutions Team has got you covered. Common small business health insurance plans include life, LTC, medical, vision, 401K administration, and dental insurance.

plane departure

Travelers

If you travel regularly for business or pleasure, it pays to plan ahead and protect yourself. Because unexpected events happen all the time, you could lose a lot of money if your business trip or vacation is canceled at the last minute. Situations like this can be particularly concerning on international business trips and on long vacations. Whether you get sick before your trip or have valuables within your baggage stolen, traveler’s insurance can help minimize expensive cancelation fees and costs.

Health Insurance Solutions Team for Individual and Family Health Insurance

Health Insurance Solutions Team for Individual and Family Health Insurance

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Most Popular Types of Coverage

Figuring out the kind of insurance you need is a crucial part of the health insurance process. Do you have a prescription for eyeglasses or contacts? Do you have a condition that requires you to visit the doctor on a regular basis? Health insurance plans change depending on what you need. At the Health Insurance Solutions Team, we will provide you with a trusted health insurance agent in Myrtle Beach to help you choose the best plan for your budget.

Here are a few of the most popular types of coverage that our clients ask about:

Major Medical

This type of insurance covers minimum essential benefits and meets the standards of the ACA for family and individual coverage. Major medical insurance is a fantastic option to choose if you want to be sure all of your medical expenses are covered. Major medical plans usually cover ten essential benefits:

  • Outpatient Procedures or Ambulatory Care
  • Hospitalization
  • Check-Ups and Preventative Care
  • Prescription Medications
  • Emergency Services
  • Pediatric Care Services
  • Laboratory Services
  • Newborn and Maternity Care
  • Addiction Counseling and Mental Health Care Services

If your goal is to cover a full range of care, major medical plans are often the best choice. We recommend you contact our office today to learn more about the major medical plan options available to you. As a licensed, private health insurance broker in Myrtle Beach you do not need to wait until Open Enrollment to protect yourself with a major medical insurance plan.

MAJOR MEDICAL
DENTAL

DENTAL

From basic cleanings to complex procedures like root canals, dental work can be awfully expensive. When you have dental insurance, you will have peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to pay for your procedure out of pocket. In general, a quality dental insurance policy will cover some or all of the following:

  • Routine cleanings and checkups (copay may be required)
  • X-Rays
  • Filling Cavities
  • Bridges, Implants, and Crowns
  • Root Canals and Repair Work
  • Emergency Services Oral Surgery, etc.)

It should be noted that some types of dental equipment and services may be covered at higher levels of coverage. While preventative work like cleanings is typically covered, some procedures require out-of-pocket costs.

VISION

Usually purchased as an addition to your medical insurance, vision insurance helps cut back on costs associated with eye care Like dental insurance, vision insurance is great if you know that you will regularly visit the eye doctor or just want to protect yourself for a “worst case scenario.” In general, a quality vision plan will cover some or all of the following:

  • Routine Eye Exams
  • Medical Eye Care
  • Vision Correction Products (Eyeglasses, contacts, etc.)
  • Surgeries for Vision Correction (LASIK, etc.)

It should be noted that not all types of vision insurance will cover medical issues related to eye care. For instance, if your optometrist discovers a medical problem during your eye exam, they may refer you to a different doctor. While vision insurance may not cover all eye-related medical services, major medical health insurance often does.

VISION
LONG-TERM CARE

LONG-TERM CARE

It might be hard to imagine at this stage of your life, but as you age, there is a chance that you will need long-term care services. The question is, how will you or your loved ones pay for this kind of care? Many people choose to eliminate the burden of senior care by purchasing long-term care insurance. Services like meal preparation, medication assistance, and help with day-to-day activities like bathing are not covered by regular health insurance plans. Long-term care insurance will help you or your children lessen the expense of care when you have chronic medical conditions, dementia, or disabilities. When you speak to one of our health insurance agents, ask if you can purchase a policy that reimburses you when you receive care in the following locations:

  • Routine cleanings and checkups (copay may be required)
  • In a nursing home
  • In your own home
  • In an assisted living center
  • At a long-term residential senior facility

Expert Help Is Only a Phone Call Away

We call ourselves the Health Insurance Solutions Team because we are committed to finding you the best, most affordable options for your health insurance needs. We work with all the major insurance carriers, such as:

  • Aetna
  • Advent Health
  • United Healthcare
  • National General
  • Humana
  • Transamerica
  • Many More

Unlike some health insurance brokers who only care about making a sale, we don’t view you as a financial transaction. We believe that serving others never goes out of style. That’s why we prefer to educate you on your health coverage options so that you can make an informed decision. As your health insurance agent in Myrtle Beach, we would be honored to help you seek out a plan that is the perfect fit for your life. You will receive the same excellent level of service whether you are a business owner with employees or a single individual.

When you’re ready to protect yourself and your family with quality health insurance, we will be here to help guide you along the way. Contact us today so that we may discover your insurance needs and provide you with a quality insurance solution that will give you peace of mind for years to come.

Expert Help Is Only a Phone Call Away

Call us (843) 364-9155 for a complimentary consultation and evaluation of your healthcare coverage.

Latest News in Myrtle Beach

Snow? Ice? Frozen roads? How Horry County is preparing for winter weather this weekend

One of the biggest winter storms in years is on its way to Myrtle Beach, a place that isn’t used to, well, winter storms.Winter storm effects will start Friday morning. The storm has the potential to bring sleet, freezing rain, ice accumulation and (maybe) some snow, according to the National Weather Service.“The main threat at this time is the potential for dangerous ice accumulations, which could cause downed trees/limbs, power outages and hazardous travel,” the NWS said in a written briefing Wednesday eveni...

One of the biggest winter storms in years is on its way to Myrtle Beach, a place that isn’t used to, well, winter storms.

Winter storm effects will start Friday morning. The storm has the potential to bring sleet, freezing rain, ice accumulation and (maybe) some snow, according to the National Weather Service.

“The main threat at this time is the potential for dangerous ice accumulations, which could cause downed trees/limbs, power outages and hazardous travel,” the NWS said in a written briefing Wednesday evening.

The areas closest to the coast are expected to see 0.01-0.1 inches of ice and inland areas could see 0.25-0.5 inches of ice. However, even small amounts of ice can be dangerous, the NWS warns.

“Even a quarter inch of ice can add a tremendous amount of weight to trees and powerlines,” the NWS said in the briefing.

There is little chance of snow from the storm in Horry County. The county is likely to see wind gusts of 25-30 mph, especially along the coast. The NWS said those gusts could add stress to trees and powerlines already weighed down by ice.

“Santee Cooper is monitoring the forecast and preparing for another round of winter weather. Our main goals include being prepared, keeping our crews and customers safe, and keeping the lights on for all of our customers across the state,” Santee Cooper’s chief customer officer Mike Poston said in a press release Wednesday. “We will begin restoration efforts as soon as we safely can if we experience outages from this winter weather.”

Residents can report outages online at stormcenter.santeecooper.com or by calling 888-769-7688.

Wintry precipitation is expected to stop by the end of the day Saturday.

It will stay chilly after the storm, with morning lows in the 20s Saturday through Monday. Saturday’s high will be in the mid-30s and in the mid to upper 40s on Sunday and Monday.

Need to head somewhere in the next few days? Here are some tips from South Carolina Highway Patrol.

The state Department of Transportation has plenty of methods for taking care of South Carolina’s roads. Ahead of and during the storm, the agency will be out prepping roads and de-icing them.

Horry County Public Works also has equipment to “remove and mitigate the effects of snow/ice should the need arise,” county emergency management spokesman Thomas Bell said in an email last year. The county also works with the Red Cross to offer shelters to residents who don’t have a warm place to stay if it gets to cold at night, Bell said in an email. If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours, residents can text SHELTER and their zip code to 43362 to find the nearest shelter to them.

As for driving, it’s still a good idea to avoid the roads if you can, Highway Patrol Master Trooper Brian Jones said.

And yes, Jones has heard it before: You grew up driving in snow! You’re a pro at this.

Snow is very different than ice. South Carolina’s warmer climate means we more often get ice, which creates slick and incredibly dangerous roads compared to the gritty snow-covered streets (that still provide good traction) drivers from, well, places with snow might be used to, Jones said.

“Whenever we see accumulation then freezing overnight, ice forms. It makes for a dangerous driving experience,” Jones said. “So whenever we see a winter weather event, we see our call volume increase drastically. We respond to a lot more collisions than we ordinarily would. So our message there is if you don’t have to be out on the roadways, save yourself the trouble to stay home.”

Keep in mind that there is also a chance that any accumulated water on the ground can also refreeze during the evening, especially on Saturday night, when it will be the coldest. That will create dangerous road conditions Saturday night and into Sunday morning until all of the precipitation melts and drains away in the coming days.

For those who have to drive, keep an eye out for people working on de-icing the roads. The Department of Transportation has loads of resources for helping melt ice on roads and keeping them from freezing. This week, they’ll be out in full force working to keep the state’s roads safe. Slow down to make sure they can do their work safely. Keep in mind that salt trucks and snow plows tend to move pretty slowly, so they can cover the entire roadway.

“The safest solution is for drivers to stay off the roads if at all possible. If you must drive, slow down and watch for crews performing de-icing and plowing operations,” Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall said in a statement.

How much Myrtle Beach golf rounds increased in 2021 and why there’s excitement for 2022

The coronavirus pandemic continued to be a boon for golf in 2021, and the Myrtle Beach market was a beneficiary of the game’s resurgence, particularly from the summer on.Propelled by perhaps the best second half to a year in two decades, the number of rounds played on the Grand Strand’s public courses increased approximately 19 percent compared to 2020, leading to a green fee revenue increase of approximately 46 percent.It is believed to be the most rounds played in at least 18 years in the market, which stretches f...

The coronavirus pandemic continued to be a boon for golf in 2021, and the Myrtle Beach market was a beneficiary of the game’s resurgence, particularly from the summer on.

Propelled by perhaps the best second half to a year in two decades, the number of rounds played on the Grand Strand’s public courses increased approximately 19 percent compared to 2020, leading to a green fee revenue increase of approximately 46 percent.

It is believed to be the most rounds played in at least 18 years in the market, which stretches from Georgetown, S.C., to Boliva, N.C., and more than 30 courses have closed over those years. The numbers break down to an average of approximately 38,300 rounds per course last year.

With advanced tee time bookings well ahead of last year, course operators are optimistic for an even more successful year in 2022.

The numbers are according to rounds played on the 62 Grand Strand courses that are currently members of the Golf Tourism Solutions technology and marketing agency that promotes the market, which is one of the world’s premier golf destinations with more than 80 courses, including more than 70 public layouts.

Rounds and revenue also increased significantly in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

“The courses need it, we all need it. It’s been a lot of tough years,” said Parker Smith, president of Golf Trek, one of the Grand Strand’s largest golf package providers.

Because the numbers take into account only current GTS courses, they do not include rounds at courses that closed in 2021 or dropped their GTS membership.

Farmstead Golf Links and The Witch Golf Links both closed late in 2021. Century Golf Partners’ five courses in the market — three at Legends Resort, Heritage Club and Oyster Bay Golf Links — Whispering Pines, Brunswick Plantation, Indigo Creek, Beachwood Golf Club and Carolina National are no longer part of GTS.

There were 2.374 million rounds played on those 62 courses in 2021, according to GTS, which was up from 1.993 million in 2020 and 2.128 million in 2019.

Revenue from the rounds increased from $71.7 million in 2020 to $104.3 million in 2021.

2021 got off to a moderate start.

A COVID surge and travel-related government restrictions contributed to play and revenue being either down or only minimally up in February, March, April and May 2021 compared to those months in 2019.

But rounds and revenue increased double-digit percentage points in each of the last eight months of 2021 compared to both 2020 and 2019, with the lone exception being a 7 percent rounds increase in November 2021 compared to 2020.

“I wouldn’t call last year a good year, because the pandemic was still greatly impacting us during our peak season, which was the spring,” said Claude Pardue, president of DG Golf Management, which owns and operates The Wizard and Man O’War courses and previously owned The Witch. “But I would call the last seven months of the year really good. We had a really good fall.”

COVID led to golf nationally enjoying a resurgence after a couple stagnant/declining decades, and rounds in the Myrtle Beach market in 2020 outpaced those in 2019 in six of the final seven months of the year.

Many states, including North Carolina and South Carolina, kept golf courses open while many other indoor activities were closed due to the coronavirus, leading more people to golf courses more frequently.

Yet rounds on the Grand Strand were down 7.8 percent and revenue was down 20 percent for the entire year in 2020 compared to 2019, according to GTS, because of the loss of traveling golfers and package play, particularly in the normally lucrative spring season when many states were on lockdown due to COVID’s emergence.

“Coming out of COVID it was crazy. Golf has been nuts,” Smith said. “I think in the 2021 spring the market missed a little bit with people still being COVID fearful. Typically, April for the 17 years I’ve been doing it is always the busiest month of traveling package golf, and we actually had more golfers play on a package basis in October for the first time ever. People were just ready to get out. It was a really, really good fall.”

Through November, total rounds of golf in the U.S. were up 5.6% over 2020, according to a report by Golf Datatech in partnership with the National Golf Foundation, and that is after rounds played in the U.S. were up nearly 14 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Play in 2021 was projected through November to surpass 2020’s total by approximately 20 million to 25 million rounds, and this past December saw mild temperatures in many parts of the country, particularly the mid-Atlantic.

The 2020 increase came in spite of debilitating COVID impacts that spring. The industry lost an estimated 20 million rounds due to coronavirus-related course shutdowns in March and April, when more than half of the 16,000-plus courses in the country were temporarily closed, according to the NGF.

Rounds increased in 2020 compared to 2019 in each of the final eight months of the year, according to Golf Datatech, to total more than 502 million rounds for the year for an increase of 61 million rounds over 2019.

The only larger increase in rounds played in a year on record was in 1997, when a 21-year-old Tiger Woods won the Masters by 12 strokes and the number of rounds jumped by 63 million compared to 1996.

Golf equipment sales have followed suit. Retail sales of balls and equipment were up nearly 35% through November vs. 2020, according to Golf Datatech.

Total sales of clubs and balls in 2020 surpassed 2019’s numbers at $2.9 billion despite a 31% dip in March and April of 2020. The increase was fueled by the biggest July on record contributing to the second highest quarter ever.

“There’s just a lot of interest in golf now,” Smith said. “I think COVID introduced a lot of people back to it.”

Projections for 2022 in Myrtle Beach are even more encouraging than 2021’s statistics.

According to GTS, rounds already booked at the agency’s 62 courses for the remainder of the year as of Jan. 1 are up 20 percent for a projected revenue increase of approximately 31 percent at an average of $5 more per round. Nearly 400,000 rounds were reserved as of New Year’s Day.

“That indicates there’s a lot of pent-up demand still to come to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and play a round of golf,” said Tracy Conner, GTS president of technology and Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association executive director.

Smith said he has been booking spring packages since August and has had by far the most advanced spring rounds booked in his 17 years in business.

“It’s super strong. We’ve had a lot of advanced bookings, more than ever,” Smith said. “I think they probably missed last spring’s trip, for those who didn’t do it, so they were like, ‘Man, we’ve got to get this down.’ We’ve had crazy growth for advanced bookings from August through November. Like more than 100 percent compared to last year, which was a COVID year but it was still strong.

“Now because the prices change — because as they fill up they raise the rate — the earlier you book the better the price is.”

Course profits have been boosted in recent years by dynamic pricing that fluctuates by day and time of day to take advantage of more coveted tee times and increased demand.

Increased operating costs for course owners and managers have cut into their profits, however. The golf industry has experienced much of the inflation and rising costs of products and delivery that other U.S. industries are facing nearly two years into the pandemic.

“Just for winter grass this year, the cost of grass is up 53 percent,” Smith said. “Everything is more expensive. The average golfer doesn’t think of that. But we’re still positioned pretty well as a good destination with a combination of everything.”

What may benefit spring golf is the return of more Canadians in the form of both weekly vacationers and longer-term snowbirds. The Canadian government adopted border restrictions last winter and spring that made it difficult for Canadians to leave.

GTS is currently marketing heavily in Canada to entice golfers to return, and nonstop Porter Air flights from Toronto to Myrtle Beach have been reinstated beginning March 9.

“That was a huge hit for us, certainly the snowbird traffic and then Canadian travel in general,” said GTS CEO Bill Golden, who said there are additional conversations with airlines to add flights from Canada to Myrtle Beach. “As a destination in general we need to get back and market as heavily if not invest more dollars than we ever have to encourage that traffic to come back. It’s a significant piece of business for us.”

2022 is more than promising for the Myrtle Beach golf industry.

“I actually think the future of the golf business is real exciting in our segment of the business,” Pardue said. “I’m excited about where we can go.”

Totals are rounds played on GTS’ current 62 courses

Totals are rounds played on GTS’ current 62 courses

MonthRounds% change from 2020% change from 2019
January100,454-20%+2%
February

107,725

-27%-28%
March

244,538

+22%-3%
April

281,155

+141%+4%
May

256,183

+42%+5%
June

203,925

+10%+26%
July

207,204

+17%+23%
August

177,493

+15%+10%
September

215,548

+15%+41%
October

270,008

+11%+16%
November

176,092

+7%+21%
December

133,863

+23%+47%
Total2,374,188+19%+12%

* Statistics according to Golf Tourism Solutions

Rare ice storm poised to hit Carolina beaches, including Myrtle Beach and Charleston

(CNN)It's been nearly seven years since the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, North Carolina, last issued an ice warning for its area. Now, over 10 million people along coastal parts of Virginia and the Carolinas are under winter weather alerts.Ice storm warnings on Thursday include Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, where up to a half-inch of ice could bring down trees and power lines and cause dan...

(CNN)It's been nearly seven years since the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, North Carolina, last issued an ice warning for its area. Now, over 10 million people along coastal parts of Virginia and the Carolinas are under winter weather alerts.

Ice storm warnings on Thursday include Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, where up to a half-inch of ice could bring down trees and power lines and cause dangerous road conditions.

The governors of North and South Carolina have issued states of emergency in preparation for the winter weather.

"It all starts first with the cold front that's going to move through the Carolinas during the daytime" Thursday, said Nick Petro, warning coordination meteorologist at the weather service office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

That cold front and low pressure system will usher in precipitation and a very cold air mass behind the front -- cold enough to bring winter weather elements Thursday night through Saturday. The low pressure system's location -- whether offshore or closer to the coast -- will determine how much rain, snow and ice these areas see.

"If it's too far offshore, you literally could have nothing," Petro told CNN Weather. "But if it stays close to the shore, then we could have a wintry mix of snow, some sleet, maybe some freezing rain closer to the coast."

Eastern North Carolina and South Carolina are likely to see widespread freezing rain late Thursday night into Friday. On Saturday, conditions could shift to sleet and snow.

"Our best forecast is that areas away from the immediate coast and beaches will see a quarter of an inch, maybe as much as four-10ths of an inch of ice, lower amounts near the coast and maybe some lower amounts where some sleet and snow will mix in along our I-95 corridor counties," Mark Bacon, meteorologist at the Wilmington weather service office, said.

A little farther north in Virginia, temperatures will be just cool enough that most precipitation will be in the form of snow.

From Raleigh up through Virginia Beach and Norfolk, 2 to 4 inches of snow are forecast.

When it comes to ice, travel and power outages remain the most significant concerns.

In coastal South Carolina and Georgia, where freezing conditions are "fairly rare," icing will be the main challenge, said Steven Taylor, lead forecaster with Charleston, South Carolina, weather office.

"Any type of icing is significant for us, but we have a lot of elevated bridges and roadways across, especially the Charleston and Savannah metro areas. So, any type of icing that could occur will certainly be a problem for travelers."

Note: Based on utilities' self-reported outage information on their public websites. Information is not available from all utilities. "Customers" typically represent points where power service ends, which could include individual homes, companies or entire apartment buildings. Lighter gray areas indicate missing data.

Another concern is what happens after the storm passes. By Saturday night, temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s across much of the Carolinas, making for dangerous conditions if customers lose power.

"People succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning when they're using heaters that aren't rated for the indoors," he said, adding that people should avoid any unnecessary travel from Friday through Saturday morning, when the storm will be at its worst.

And if you do run a generator, Taylor emphasized, make sure it is in a well-ventilated space.

CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater contributed to this story.

Busy Myrtle Beach airport had ‘incredible’ year in 2021. Was it good for travelers?

Cabin fever was over for Myrtle Beach in 2021, at least at the airport.Long a destination for driving, Myrtle Beach International Airport saw thousands of new flights, destinations and hundreds of thousands of new air travelers passing through its gates last year.The airport had 3.2 million passengers pass through in 2021, a 188% increase over 2020, which like other airports, was hit hard by the pandemic, the airport ...

Cabin fever was over for Myrtle Beach in 2021, at least at the airport.

Long a destination for driving, Myrtle Beach International Airport saw thousands of new flights, destinations and hundreds of thousands of new air travelers passing through its gates last year.

The airport had 3.2 million passengers pass through in 2021, a 188% increase over 2020, which like other airports, was hit hard by the pandemic, the airport reported in a news release Wednesday. That’s also a 23% increase over 2019, the previous record holder for most passengers, when 2.6 million people made their way through its doors.

Part of the increase is attributed to Southwest Airlines’ expansion to the airport in May, adding dozens of new flights every week, the airport reported.

Spirit also added hundreds of new flights every week during the summer as it marked its 25th year of service to MYR. Frontier and United added several new nonstop flights to the airport.

Finally, at the end of the year, Canada’s Porter Airlines announced that it would resume flights between Toronto and Myrtle Beach in March for the first time since the pandemic began.

“This has been an incredible year for both the airport and our community as a whole,” said Scott Van Moppes, Horry County director of airports, in a statement.

“Our transition from the challenges and uncertainty of 2020 to the significant recovery of 2021 is a testament to the resilience of the Grand Strand and Horry County,” he said.

Yet, even as the airport hails 2021 as hallmark year, the airport’s growth wasn’t easy for some passengers. The airport routinely experienced a record number of travelers, even in times known for being less busy, like October.

In past years, MYR was an airport known for its last-minute travelers. Travelers could arrive at the airport 45 minutes before their flight left, breeze through security and make it onboard with plenty of time to spare. The airport was like that for much of the year, local tourism experts said, even during the summer.

Those days came to an end last summer. In June and July, the airport had hours-long lines to get through security. The lines were so long, they stretched the entire length of the airport at peak times on the weekends.

Reports became abundant of people missing flights because they were stuck in line trying to get through security. Others complained about not being able to order food — or having to abandon it before it was ready — once they were inside security because those lines also were too long.

By midsummer, the airport and the Transportation Security Administration were regularly reminding passengers to show up at least three hours early. They stressed that that meant getting to the airport three hours before the flight, not leaving the hotel three hours before.

Airport officials had little control over some problems. As the summer went on, it became harder to get a rental car. A few times, people reported finally being able to get a car after waiting in line for hours, only to find that the car itself was dirty. In some cases, they stuck with the car, needing a way to get around since the area lacks a strong public transportation system and cars from ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft could cost more than $100 at peak hours, for those who could get a ride at all.

The airport also dealt with hundreds of flight cancellations as COVID made staffing planes harder and bad weather snarled air traffic around the country. Spirit, the airport’s primary carrier, had dozens of cancellations per day for a week in late July and early August, leaving hundreds of people stranded.

By mid-July, however, airport officials were getting a handle on the surge in passengers. TSA had been able to make several operational changes to speed up security processing.

At its worst, the airport had a 71-minute wait time to get through security on July 3. Within a week, the agency was able to cut that down to 38 minutes.

Now, the airport is looking ahead. Plans are underway to expand its existing terminal to add more gates in the next few years. The airport is also adding 100,000 gallons of fuel storage capacity to help with the new flights and will spend $20 million to upgrade its rental car lot.

”As we look toward the future, the airport team is committed to continually improving both the customer experience and operational efficiency, and will always strive to make MYR the gold standard for airports around the nation,” Van Moppes said in a statement.

North Myrtle Beach residents concerned about development, overcrowding

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Some North Myrtle Beach residents in the Crescent Beach neighborhood are concerned about possible overcrowding as the city considers rezoning certain districts.The City of North Myrtle Beach planned to rezone 27 plots of land near 17th Ave. S. and South Ocean Boulevard in the Crescent Beach neighborhood from the current resort-residential designation to resort-commercial.The city’s planning commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the plan; however, North Myrtle Beach Cit...

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Some North Myrtle Beach residents in the Crescent Beach neighborhood are concerned about possible overcrowding as the city considers rezoning certain districts.

The City of North Myrtle Beach planned to rezone 27 plots of land near 17th Ave. S. and South Ocean Boulevard in the Crescent Beach neighborhood from the current resort-residential designation to resort-commercial.

The city’s planning commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the plan; however, North Myrtle Beach City Council approved the first reading of the rezoning ordinance Dec. 6 by a 4-3 vote.

At second reading Jan. 3, council decided to hold off on approval to listen to concerns from residents and get more information from city staff in a workshop held Wednesday afternoon.

John Lamberth owns a home in the Crescent Beach neighborhood where he splits time between North Myrtle Beach and Greensboro, North Carolina. He said the city should keep the status quo and not make any zoning changes.

“It makes no sense,” Lamberth said.

Lamberth was most bothered by the fact that the city’s planning commission recommended denial, but city council didn’t agree.

“City council should rely on the planning commission,” Lamberth said. “They’re the ones that know that the density of it is too much. We do not want to be Myrtle Beach.”

Neighbors were concerned about density and overcrowding, as a change in zoning would allow for more mid-rise condos in the district, which residents say is quiet and peaceful.

Kenneth Bryson’s mother lives in Crescent Beach right next door to Lamberth.

“This is more like a retirement place for older people here that deserve to have the respect,” Bryson said. “I feel like if they’re going to do this, I feel like they ought to take it to Myrtle Beach where it’s wide open.”

The goal of Wednesday’s workshop was to present a revised plan for rezoning that took into account residents’ concerns. City staff presented council and about 50 people in attendance two options for rezoning: an overlay zone over just the southern portion of the two areas originally chosen for rezoning or a planned development district.

Damien Triouleyre was one of a handful of people in the audience who were given the chance to speak before council. He was in favor of the overlay zone that cuts the original area selected in half.

“If we do an overlay, and the city does an overlay, then there’s much more control over what’s built there,” Triouleyre said.

City council seemed to agree with Triouleyre that the overlay zone was the best way to move forward.

“We’re all concerned about density,” North Myrtle Beach City Council member Hank Thomas said. “This is a way, by working together with the property owner, we can actually reduce density less than what he’s actually entitled to.”

The city said the revised plan was a good compromise for the concerned residents as well as those looking at the area as an opportunity for redevelopment. The overlay zone would have tougher restrictions than what is currently in place while also bringing in restaurants and shops that the city said are to the benefit of everyone in the neighborhood.

“I think the expansion [of the overlay zone] is a positive, and I think it’s a win for everybody,” North Myrtle Beach City Council member Fred Coyne said.

The revised ordinance still has to be officially written up, go through the planning commission and two readings before city council.

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