Governor orders mandatory evacuation of Georgia coast

In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16 and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma approaches Anguilla on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history has roared into the Caribbean, its winds ripping off roofs and knocking out phones. It’s on a path toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly hitting Florida. (NOAA via AP)

Georgia’s governor has ordered a mandatory evacuation starting on Saturday from the state’s Atlantic coast ahead of Hurricane Irma. That includes the city of Savannah.

 

Gov. Nathan Deal issued the evacuation Thursday for all areas east of Interstate 95, all of Chatham County and some areas west of the interstate. He also expanded a state of emergency to 30 counties.

Deal’s order authorizes about 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on active duty to help people respond and recover.

Georgia hasn’t been hit by a hurricane with winds Category 3 or higher since 1898.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, also declared a state of emergency. A major strike there would be the first in nearly 28 years.

Here is the governor’s news release:

Following a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) officials and local Emergency Management Agencies, Gov. Nathan Deal is expanding his emergency declaration to include 24 additional counties, with a total of 30 counties now included in a state of emergency. Deal also issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas east of I-95, all of Chatham County and some areas west of I-95 that could be impacted by potential storm surge from Hurricane Irma. The executive order also authorized up to 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on state active duty to support Hurricane Irma response and recovery. The state of emergency prohibits price gouging for all goods and services related to the storm. Read the executive order here.

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Irma,” said Deal. “I encourage all Georgians in our coastal areas that could be impacted by this storm to evacuate the area as soon as possible. Beginning Saturday, a mandatory evacuation order will take effect for Chatham County, all areas east of I-95 and some areas west of I-95 that could be impacted by this catastrophic hurricane and storm surge. GEMA/HS continues leading our preparedness efforts as we coordinate with federal, state and local officials to safely evacuate the coastal areas, provide public shelter and minimize the disruption of traffic. Finally, I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in Hurricane Irma’s path.”

The 30 counties under a state of emergency are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne and Ware Counties.

Gov. Deal and the State Operation Command Team will hold a news conference Friday morning at 10 a.m. to provide updates on storm preparations.

GEMA/HS is coordinating disaster preparedness efforts along with the Georgia Department of Defense (GA DoD), the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Please see below for resources and updates from each of the agencies.

Sheltering and state park information are available on the GEMA/HS website or by calling 1-800-TRY-GEMA.

Contraflow on I-16 will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.

 

More