ATLANTA – Georgia's governor has declared an emergency for the entire state as Hurricane Irma's approach triggers widespread severe weather threats, including the first-ever tropical storm warning for Atlanta.
Gov. Nathan Deal's new emergency declaration came Sunday as Irma churned near Florida. The National Hurricane Center predicted the storm's center to cross Monday into southwest Georgia, where a hurricane warning was issued for communities including Albany and Valdosta.
Portions of western Alabama and coastal South Carolina were also under tropical storm warnings.
The National Weather Service confirmed it had never before issued a tropical storm warning for Atlanta, where wind gusts could reach 55 mph (88 kph). Meanwhile Savannah and the rest of coastal Georgia were under evacuation orders for the second time since Hurricane Matthew brushed the region last October.
Glynn County latest
As areas of Glynn County prepared Sunday to experience strong winds and deteriorating conditions, anyone who had ignored the county's mandatory evacuation order was urged to shelter-in place beginning at noon.
Travel could possibly result in citizens being stranded on the roadway or battling high cross winds and rain.
Glynn County is still under a tropical storm warning as well as a storm surge warning. The area is expecting to see winds of over 58 mph, storm surge of 4 – 6 feet on the ocean front and a flooding risk of 2 – 3 feet in low lying neighborhoods. In addition, a possibility of river flooding is predicted as well as 5 – 10 inches of forecasted rain.
The Downing Musgrove Causeway leading to Jekyll Island has closed as of 9:00 am today, Sunday, September 10. Water and Sewer services are planned to be shut off on St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island at 2:00 pm today. Georgia DOT has closed the Sydney Lanier Bridge at noon.
A curfew is still in effect for Glynn County from midnight to 6:00 am until Tuesday, September 12. An increased number of law enforcement personnel are out in the community to ensure the protection of life and property. Any intersection with a flashing traffic light or no power should be treated like a 4-way stop. Please be mindful of the safety of officers and crews working on roadways.
Glynn County public schools will be closed through Friday.
Glynn County officials continue to monitor the storm and advise the public to prepare for deteriorating weather conditions. Another public service announcement will be released later this evening.
Jekyll Island is currently experiencing strong winds that will increase throughout the evening. Anyone remaining on-island is urged to shelter-in-place.
There is still a tropical storm warning in place, as well as a storm surge warning. The area is expecting to see winds over 58 mph, storm surge of 4–6 feet on the oceanfront, and a flooding risk of 2–3 feet in low lying neighborhoods. In addition, a possibility of river flooding is predicted, as well as 5–10 inches of rain.
At this time, based on current projections, we will not shut down central services (water and sewer). Per the JIA disaster plan, we will continue to monitor the storm and keep our system operational as long as possible. If conditions worsen, we will update appropriately and issue an update at that time.
The Downing Musgrove Causeway and the Sidney Lanier Bridge are both closed, and Jekyll Island emergency personnel are not responding to calls.
Jekyll Island curfew is still in effect, 10 p.m. – 6 a.m., until further notice. The Georgia State Patrol, DNR law enforcement, and Military Police are patrolling both the causeway and the island to ensure the protection of life and property.
Camden County latest
Camden County Emergency Management Officials emphasize that all of Camden County is under a voluntary evacuation and per the State of Georgia Executive Order made by Governor Deal all areas east of I-95 are under a mandatory evacuation. Camden County is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning, a Storm Surge Warning, a Hurricane Watch, and a Flash Flood Watch. Tonight in Camden County, Tropical Storm conditions are expected with Hurricane conditions possible.
The National Weather Service warns that the primary time period of impact remains late Sunday through Monday, with possible effects including tropical storm to hurricane force winds. While no roads are closed at this time, conditions are due to deteriorate with the incoming storm and may make driving hazardous. Citizens are strongly encouraged to stay off of local roads. Five to ten inches of rainfall and up to four to six feet of storm surge are expected along the coastal areas of the county in addition to flooding, high winds, and possible tornadoes.
At this time, there are no plans to cut off water or sewer service in Camden County. Water service will be maintained unless widespread power outages prompt shut downs to maintain the public health safety due to potential for sewer spills and sewer backing up into homes.
Hurricane Irma has made landfall in the Florida Keys and Camden County officials continue to monitor the storm and advise the public to prepare for deteriorating weather conditions. Continue to monitor the progress of the hurricane through the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. Regular updates will be posted to the Camden County website and our Facebook pages for Camden County Government and Camden County EMA. Please sign up for CodeRED to receive emergency notifications. Residents may call 1-866-868-4351 toll-free to get answers to frequently asked questions about Hurricane Irma’s impact on Camden County.
Irma's historic landfall
Hurricane Irma became tied for the seventh strongest storm to make landfall in U.S. history by a key measurement of atmospheric pressure.
Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key at 9:10 a.m. with a minimum central pressure of 929 millibars. Atmospheric pressure is one of the major measurements meteorologists use to describe storms. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.
Only six storms on record had lower pressures when striking the United States, including Katrina. When Katrina hit in 2005, it had lower pressure but its wind speed kept it at Category 3.
The 929 pressure mark ties Irma with the deadly 1928 Lake Okeechobee hurricane.
Irma's arrival also marks another first.
Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach says this is the first year on record that the United States has been hit by two storms that were Category 4 upon landfall: Harvey and Irma.