We interrupt your holiday because a hurricane wants to do so as well. This morning, Governor Brian Kemp has ordered the mandatory evacuation of six Georgia coastal counties. To aid the evacuation, I-16 will have “contra-flow” beginning tomorrow, with eastbound lanes converted to additional westbound lanes in order to expedite traffic away from the coast.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Starting noon tomorrow, individuals east of I-95 in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh Counties must evacuate due to Hurricane <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dorian?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Dorian</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/GeorgiaEMA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@GeorgiaEMA</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/GADeptofTrans?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@GADeptofTrans</a> will start westerly contraflow on I-16 at 8 AM on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Stay vigilant and be safe. <a href=”https://t.co/njw2ffCoLT”>pic.twitter.com/njw2ffCoLT</a></p>— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) <a href=”https://twitter.com/GovKemp/status/1168341632917356544?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>September 2, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Other elected officials have encouraged coastal residents to heed the warnings, and press releases from Georgia’s Senators and Congressman Buddy Carter are below.
Some added editorial commentary: Georgia’s officials are in a bit of a no-win situation when it comes to the weather, especially hurricanes. Weather is unpredictable and there’s nothing they can do about it. Armchair quarterbacks however, can complain if they do nothing, and also when they do something. The reality is that this storm’s projected track is almost identical to 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, which caused significant flooding on barrier islands along with wind damage on Tybee.
The realities of hurricane prediction is that while forecasts have gotten better, it remains an inexact science. If the northward turn happens a few hours later than predicted, a landfall anywhere from central Florida to the Carolinas – including along Georgia’s coast – is entirely possible.
Mandatory evacuations are focused primarily on the poor and elderly that don’t have adequate ability or resources to evacuate themselves. This isn’t something that can be done once the forecast is certain. Sometimes in retrospect it turns out that it was unnecessary. No one, however, wants that retrospect to look like New Orleans officials after Katrina.
In short, it’s time to prepare, but not panic. Hopefully Dorian will turn out to be a non-event for Georgians, unlike what residents of the Bahamas are currently experiencing. But we can’t assume that at this point. In fact, it would be irresponsible to do so.
Press releases are as follows. From Georgia’s Senators:
ATLANTA – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., today urged Georgians to take heed of warnings and follow safety precautions ahead of Hurricane Dorian. On Sunday, Governor Brian Kemp issued a mandatory evacuation order for individuals east of Interstate 95 in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties starting at noon today, Sept. 2, 2019.
The governor’s executive order also directs the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to establish westerly contraflow on Interstate 16 starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
“I urge Georgians to take precautions ahead of Hurricane Dorian and follow the advice of Governor Kemp and local officials, including the mandatory evacuation of all individuals east of I-95 in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties,” said Isakson. “If you are in these areas, please make arrangements to evacuate today. This is a dangerous and powerful storm with the potential to bring damaging winds and catastrophic flooding to parts of Georgia. Please stay informed and make sure you are taking steps to keep yourselves and your families out of harm’s way. Senator Perdue and I will continue to work with federal, state and local officials to ensure that Georgia has the resources needed to prepare now and recover fully from the impact of Hurricane Dorian.”
“Hurricane Dorian is a powerful storm with the potential to impact many Georgians as it approaches our coastline,” said Perdue. “Governor Kemp and local officials are working hard to prepare for the hurricane and will continue to update Georgians as the situation develops. For everyone’s safety, including the safety of our first responders, please take this storm seriously and evacuate if you are directed to do so.”
Georgians should prepare now for tropical weather and locate a safe place to shelter if a watch or warning is issued. They should also determine evacuation routes, a family communications plan, a plan for any pets, and keep a battery-powered radio on hand.
Additional preparedness tips for hurricanes and tropical storms are available at www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov.
Georgia Hurricane Resources:
- View up-to-date emergency declarations from Governor Kemp here.
- View updates from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency here.
- Visit Ready Georgia for weather alerts and emergency preparedness tips.
- Follow Georgia 511 for real-time traffic information.
- Learn what to do before, during, and after a flood here.
- Report power outages by contacting your power provider. The two main providers in Georgia are:
- Georgia Power (contact here or at 888-891-0938)
- Georgia electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) (find your local branch here)
- Call your local non-emergency police line to report a downed tree in a main road.
And from Congressman Carter:
My office continues to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Dorian as well as coordinate preparedness and response operations with state and local authorities. This is a big storm and we are preparing for a big response.
Due to the latest projections, Governor Kemp has issued an evacuation order for individuals east of I-95 in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh Counties. The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and the Georgia Department of Transportation will start westerly contraflow on I-16 at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
GEMA/HS is working on opening Red Cross Shelters in McDuffie, Laurens, Bibb, Coffee, and Ware Counties today. Information will be available at their website at:
If you need assistance or have questions, call the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency at 1-800-TRY-GEMA or (1-800-879-4362).
For information regarding emergency services in local areas, contact your local emergency management agency:
Bacon: (912) 632-7979
Brantley: (912) 462-7874
Bryan: (912) 858-2799
Camden: (912) 510-5993
Charlton: (912) 496-1081
Chatham: (912) 201-4500
Clinch: (912) 754-8206
Echols: (229) 559-8500
Effingham: (912) 754-8200
Glynn: (912) 554-7735
Liberty: (912) 368-2201
Long: (912) 302-4432
Lowndes: (229) 671-2790
McIntosh: (912) 437-5170
Pierce: (912) 449-2040
Ware: (912) 287-4394
Wayne: (912) 427-5979
Please continue to monitor and follow the instructions of emergency officials.
1. Be Informed – Stay up to date with weather tracking, emergency alerts, and traffic updates with the Ready Georgia App.
2. Plan Ahead -Put together an emergency plan complete with a survival kit, an alternative shelter plan, and an evacuation route ahead of time.
3. Take Action – Familiarize yourself with the local, state, and federal hurricane response numbers in the case of an emergency during the aftermath of a storm.
For medical or health related questions, call the Georgia Department of Public Health at 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584).
If you are in immediate danger call 911, but please reserve 911 for emergencies only.
It is essential that you and your family have an emergency plan in place. For more information, I strongly encourage you to visit Ready.Gov or Ready.Ga.Gov.
Please take a moment to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest on the storm and other issues impacting our area.
Stay vigilant and safe,