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Business as usual on Folly Beach as Hurricane Irma churns in water near Florida

Businesses were boarded up on Folly Beach Saturday, but everything else was business as usual. (WCIV)

Many in the Lowcountry have canceled plans to evacuate with Hurricane Irma’s latest track, and that includes a lot of people in the town of Folly Beach.

“Still operating under OPCON 2,” said Folly Beach Mayor Tom Goodwin. “Still operating everything very seriously. Emergency center is still open.”

Despite urging those who live in Folly Beach to take the storm seriously and placing Folly Beach under a state of emergency, his city is still very much open for business.

“Surf until I’m worn out and then go do yard work,” Carl Couch said. He joined hundreds of surfers in the water as huge swells rolled in one after another.

“Earlier, the projected path looked really bad for us,” Couch said. “We were going to evacuate under those condition, now we’re probably going to stay.”

All businesses along Center Street were open, and hundreds of people were eating and shopping Saturday. Dean Lang and his son Charlie were among many who watched both the waves and the track of Hurricane Irma from a safe distance.

“We’re so far away,” Lang said. “It’s hard to say until they know. We were waiting to make a decision if we were leaving or staying. But we’re staying now.”

Mayor Goodwin isn’t restricting access to Folly Beach.

“It doesn’t take much for these storms to move one way or the other,” he said.

But even with a booming business district ahead of uncertain conditions, his plea remains the same.

“I think people have let their guard down which is not a good thing and people need to pay attention and be vigilant. And hopefully that’s what they’re doing.”

Those big waves also caused beach erosion near the folly beach pier, which officials closed Saturday.

All businesses are allowed to stay open in Folly Beach as long as the governor doesn’t order any evacuations.

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