Horry County will be ready the next time a snow storm dumps on Myrtle Beach International Airport.
A $354,800 snow removal grant from the Federal Aviation Administration is being used to buy two pick-up trucks, a snow plow, a dump truck and a giant broom.
Council Chairwoman Liz Gilland said the grant "sounds absurd but once you read into it, it makes sense."
Average annual snow depth in Horry County has been zero inches for at least 50 years, according to measurements in Conway and Loris by the federal Southeast Regional Climate Center.
But while the fleet is waiting for the big storm, the new equipment will stay busy. The county says the pick-ups and dump truck will be used for airport maintenance.
"If we don't buy this as snow removal equipment, we are going to have to buy it as maintenance equipment out of our own funds," Airport Director Bob Kemp said.
To get the fleet, the county pitched in $18,674. County Council approved the purchase in July and the county is in the process of buying the equipment.
Having the equipment will also make the county eligible for more federal money to build a storage building - to house its new snow fleet, Kemp said.
It does snow in Horry County - a storm dropped a record 13.5 inches in 1989, the S.C. State Climatology Office reported.
Four years ago, it snowed an inch at the airport and another storm could be on the horizon. Someday.
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The Horry County Department of Airports has received a $340,251 grant to help pay for a study that will examine the need for a new regional airport.
The recent delays have sapped time and added to the cost of the project. The most recent estimate puts the 14-gate terminal at $228.8 million.
The plan to rekindle the airport expansion by creating a joint city-county board was unveiled by a group of six County Council members this week.
-- May 1--Horry County's airport director, who is responsible for Myrtle Beach International Airport and three smaller airports in the county, is probably retiring, he said Thursday...