With Hurricane Irma set to hit south Florida late Saturday and (possibly) spin up the coast toward Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal has wasted no time in preparing his state for one of the largest storms in recent memory. After declaring 6 counties to be in a state of emergency on Wednesday, he added an additional 24 to the list Thursday, bringing the total to 30.
As part of his expanded executive order Deal also ordered mandatory evacuations for everything east of I-95 and all of Chatham County, the areas most likely to be affected. For those forced to evacuate, of whom there are many, (Chatham County alone has a population of nearly 300,000) a list of shelters can be found HERE.
Said Deal in a press release, “The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Irma. 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.”
Thursday’s executive order also mobilized 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on active duty in preparation for response and recovery efforts as Irma looms. Further it limits price gouging on all items related to the storm, a common problem in the past as key goods become scarce.
The state’s U.S. Senators likewise urged Georgians to be safe, sending out links to resources and information that might help constituents in the storm’s path. Said Isakson, “Hurricanes provide warnings that they are coming, and I urge Georgians to take advantage of this window of time to prepare their homes and properties, and more importantly, to heed evacuation advice. We will pray for all those staying to aid in emergency work, and we are working closely with Governor Deal, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the storm moves closer to the Georgia coast. As always, Senator Perdue and I will work together in the Senate and do all we can to support all levels of storm response.”