Gov. Nathan Deal issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas east of I-95 along Georgia's coastline, all of Chatham County and some areas west of I-95 that could be impacted by potential storm surge from Hurricane Irma.
The evacuation order is effective at 8 a.m. Saturday, which is when contraflow on I-16 will begin.
Glynn County later ordered mandatory evacuations for the entire county, effective at 8 a.m. Friday. Residents were encouraged to evacuate immediately. Click here to visit Glynn County Emergency Management's website for more information.
Deal's 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.
“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.”
Deal also expanded his emergency declaration to include 24 additional counties with a total of 30 counties now included in a state of emergency: 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.
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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.
Georgia Emergency Management has started opening shelters for any county residents who have an evacuation:
- Ware County High School, 700 Victory Drive, Waycross, Georgia 31503 (Opens at 5 p.m. Friday)
- Westside High School, 1002 Patriots Way, Augusta, Georgia 30904 (Opens at 5 p.m. Friday)
- Blackshear Trail Elementary School, 1001 Blackshear Road, Cordele, Georgia 31015 (Opens at 5 p.m. Friday)
- Dublin High School, 1127 Hillcrest Parkway, Dublin, Georgia 31021 (Opens at 7 a.m. Saturday)
- Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, 2802 Moore Highway, Tifton, Georgia 31793 (Opens at 8 a.m. Saturday)
- Leroy Rogers Recreation Center, 315 2nd Street West, Tifton, Georgia 31794 (Opens at 10 a.m. Saturday)
The following Red Cross shelter locations are currently open:
- East Macon Park, 3326 Ocmulgee E Boulevard, Macon, Georgia 3127
- North Macon Park Community Center, 815 N Macon Park Drive, Macon, Georgia 31210
- Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th Street, Columbus, Georgia 31901
For the latest shelter information, click here.
Public health facilities to suspend operations
Health departments and environmental health offices in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties will be closed on Friday to finalize Functional, Access, and Medical Needs Registry evacuation plans and to finish facility preparations in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Public health facilities will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.
Camden County evacuations
The Camden County Emergency Management Agency announced the launch of a new information hotline. Residents may call 1-866-868-4351 toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get answers to frequently asked questions about Hurricane Irma.
As part of Deal's order, there is a mandatory evacuation issued for all Camden County residents east of I-95.
The Camden County Board of Commissioners, along with the cities of Kingsland, St. Marys, and Woodbine, joined with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Camden County Schools, and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay to call for a voluntary evacuation for the citizens of Camden County.
This voluntary evacuation is effective immediately. Impacts from Hurricane Irma are expected to be felt in Camden County beginning Thursday. As the storm gets closer to the area, impacts will continue to amplify. Damaging winds, heavy rain, and flooding are likely. Life threatening storm surge is possible with large destructive surf. These weather conditions are likely to cause downed trees and power outages that could last for several days.
Although the county is implementing a voluntary evacuation at this time, residents can expect a mandatory evacuation to be undertaken as conditions warrant. Residents should be aware that there are no approved shelters in Camden County due to the potential for flooding. All residents should use caution to heavy congestion on our roadways as a result of other evacuations occurring south of us. Evacuation routes will posted on the homepage of the Camden County website.
The National Hurricane Center forecasts Hurricane Irma will be dangerously close to the Southeastern Region of the State of Georgia. Please continue to monitor the progress of the hurricane through the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. Regular updates will also be posted to our Facebook pages for Camden County Government and Camden County EMA. Please sign up for CodeRED to receive emergency notifications or call the Camden County Information line at 912-576-3800.
Following Deal’s declaration of a state of emergency, Camden County Board of Commissioners issued a State of Emergency for Camden County on Wednesday. Emergency circumstances exist from Hurricane Irma, requiring extraordinary and immediate proactive measures for the protection of the health and safety of the citizens of Camden County.
“Now is the time for Camden County to get ready for Hurricane Irma,” said Chuck White, Camden County Emergency Management specialist. “Since the exact path of the storm is yet to be determined, we cannot know the impact, but we can prepare.”
Camden County residents are strongly encouraged to prepare now for the potential impacts of this storm. Detailed lists on how to prepare and what should be in your Ready Kit, are available at http://ready.ga.gov.
EMA officials continue to monitor Hurricane Irma at the Emergency Operations Center and there are no current evacuation orders in place. Should Camden County be required to evacuate, notifications will be sent via CodeRED.
Schools, county offices, health department closing
All schools in Camden County will be closed and all activities canceled Friday, Monday and Tuesday.
In any emergency, it is critical for parents and students to rely on accurate, timely information directly from the school system or local and state officials. All official announcements regarding schools will be made on Camden County Schools’ website and Facebook page, through SchoolMessenger automated calls, local radio stations KBAY 106.3 and WECC 89.3 and the Tribune and Georgian website. Please check one or more of these sources for updates regarding future decisions.
County officials have decided to close all county offices Friday through Tuesday.
Health departments and environmental health offices in Camden county will close Friday.
City of Kingsland offices closing
The City of Kingsland offices will be closed beginning Friday through Tuesday due to the anticipated severe weather from Hurricane Irma.
Weather and circumstances permitting, the City of Kingsland offices will reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
There will be regular trash pickup on Friday. Residents are asked not pile any yard debris by roadways.
Residents with functional, access or medical needs urged to register with Health Department
Public health officials strongly encourage residents in Camden County who have functional, access, or medical needs and no way to evacuate -- should that become necessary -- to register with their county health department.
Applications for the Camden County Functional, Access, and Medical Needs Registry will not be taken after 12 p.m. on Thursday, September 7. At that point in time residents should make arrangements to evacuate with the general population should an evacuation order be issued.
The county must close the registry ahead of tropical storm force winds in order to process the number of applicants already received.
The Functional, Access, and Medical Needs Registry is made up of residents who may require transport and medical assistance during a hurricane evacuation and have no other resources such as family, friends, neighbors, or church members to help them if they need to evacuate. Residents must apply to be on the Registry.
Those on the Registry will be evacuated to an American Red Cross shelter in an inland county that will likely be in a gymnasium or similar setting and could be several hours away. The Registry is truly a last resort, but if a hurricane is threatening our area, it is important that health department officials know where the most vulnerable residents are located so that evacuation assistance can be provided to them. People living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and personal care homes are not eligible for the Functional, Access, and Medical Needs and must follow their facility's emergency plan.
Functional and Access Needs registrants are individuals who may need services to maintain their independence in a shelter. This includes children and adults with physical, sensory, mental health and cognitive and/or intellectual disabilities affecting their ability to function independently without assistance. Medical Needs registrants are individuals who require support of trained medical professionals. This includes those individuals who may need assistance with managing unstable, terminal or contagious conditions that require observation and ongoing treatment.
To apply, residents should call the Camden County Health Department at 912-882-8515 or 912-576-3040. The application and protected health information authorization form can also be downloaded at gachd.org/registry.
Cumberland Island closes
In preparation for Hurricane Irma, Cumberland Island National Seashore closed to the public at 5 p.m. Thursday. The park will remain closed until after the storm has passed and re-open once damage assessments have been made and the park is deemed safe for visitation.
For up-to-date information about visiting Cumberland Island National Seashore, visit www.facebook.com/CumberlandIslandNPS/.
Glynn County orders evacuations
The Glynn County Board of Commissioners has called for a mandatory evacuation for ALL OF GLYNN COUNTY effective at 8 a.m., Friday, September 8, 2017, in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Residents should evacuate immediately.
Following Governor Deal’s declaration of a State of Emergency, the Glynn County Board of Commissioners and the City of Brunswick have issued a State of Emergency for Glynn County. County offices and courts will be closed starting 12:00 noon on Friday, September 8, and will remain closed on Monday, September 11 and Tuesday, September 12.
Impacts from Hurricane Irma are expected to be felt in Glynn County beginning Saturday night. As the storm gets closer to our area, impacts will continue to amplify. Damaging winds, heavy rain, and flooding are likely. Life threatening storm surge is possible with large destructive surf. Dangerous rip currents and significant beach erosion is anticipated. These weather conditions are likely to cause downed trees and power outages that could last for several days.
Republic Services is suspending trash collection immediately for Glynn County and the City of Brunswick and will not pick up any garbage, recycling, and yard waste until further notice. Residents are requested to have their solid waste containers tied down and secured prior to evacuating.
The Need a Ride program has exhausted their resources for Friday, September 8, 2017, and will not be making any more trips Friday. They will begin boarding passengers on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at 10 a.m. only at Lanier Plaza, located at 1919 Glynn Avenue, Brunswick, GA. Busses will leave when filled and no additional trips will be made through the Need a Ride program out of Glynn County for the duration of this evacuation.
Click here for a list of all Georgia shelters. There will be no shelters in Glynn County, other coastal counties, or counties immediately adjacent to coastal counties in accordance with guidelines provided by the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
If you are planning to evacuate to a shelter, you should bring any prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. You should also include any special items for children such as diapers, formula and toys, and items needed by family members with unique needs.
The Glynn County Animal Control Department is closed and has stopped intake. They will evacuate the animals currently at the shelter to safety.
Information on schools
All schools in the Glynn County School System will be canceled on Friday, Monday and Tuesday. Glynn County School System officials made the decision following a webinar by the National Weather Service in Jacksonville at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Schools will operate on their normal schedules Thursday with no changes to dismissal times or bus schedules. After-school programs at school sites will operate on normal schedules today. All athletic events, including the rescheduled Glynn Academy-Camden County football game, will be canceled.
The decision on when to resume school will be made as soon as possible after the storm has passed the area, a thorough damage assessment has been completed and it is determined that school can resume safely. For information updates, please visit www.glynn.k12.ga.us or follow the Glynn County School System on Facebook (@glynncountyschools) and Twitter (@glynncountyschools).
Glynn County closings
Health departments and environmental health offices in Glynn County will be closed on Friday to finalize Functional, Access, and Medical Needs Registry evacuation plans and to finish facility preparations in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Public health facilities will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.
Curfew: The Jekyll Island Authority has issued a curfew. Curfew will begin Friday, September 8, at 10 p.m. and will be enforced by Georgia State Patrol. Curfew will remain in place daily, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., until further notice.
During a curfew, it is prohibited for any person to appear in public in the territory subject to the curfew, including but not limited to, streets, highways, alleys, sidewalks, vacant lots, parks, public buildings or any other public places on Jekyll Island during the stated hours of the curfew.
Final Evacuation and services: In coordination with the Georgia State Patrol, all Jekyll Island Authority staff, including emergency responders and fire department personnel, evacuated the island and closed the Downing Musgrove Causeway on Sunday at 9 a.m. After the exit of the final group, the causeway was barricaded and no entry will be permitted until re-entry in activated.
Based on health and safety concerns, and in accordance with the JIA emergency plan, central services such as water and sewer will be shut off on Sunday, September 10, 2017, at 9 a.m. This is an updated timeline, based on the latest storm projections.
Residents are strongly encouraged to follow the mandatory evacuation orders and leave Jekyll Island immediately. This storm is incredibly serious and should not be underestimated. If you chose to stay, be prepared to be self-sufficient during and after the storm, with no assistance from emergency response or the support of utilities.
Re-entry Plan: The Jekyll Island Re-entry Plan is the same plan enacted following Hurricane Matthew, and balances the need for restricted access for protection of the community, while allowing the public re-entry for recovery. When conditions allow, access will occur in two (2) phases.
Phase 1: Pre-approved and authorized Critical Workforce only. This may include, but is not limited to, public works for roadway passage, public safety personnel, utility personnel (sanitation, water, electrical, fuel, telephone, etc.), and government personnel or governmental contractors, to restore critical infrastructure, public safety and health services. Identification and pre-authorization is required. The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) and Military Police (MP) will staff the re-entry check point to restrict access to Jekyll Island during Phase 1.
Phase 2: The following conditions must be in place before Phase 2 access is permitted; 1) clear roads, 2) safe water, and 3) emergency services in place and the opening of hospital to transport patients if needed.
Phase 2 is full public access. No identification required. Please note, this plan differs slightly from the Glynn County plan. Glynn County will have check points set up throughout the county with increased phased access. The only approved access route to Jekyll Island will be via I-95 at exit 29 to Hwy 17 directly to the Jekyll Island Downing Musgrove Causeway.
The Jekyll Island Authority closed all amenities and offices at noon Friday. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center was closed all day Friday to allow for the transfer of patients.
List of Jekyll Island Authority closings:
- Jekyll Island Authority admin offices: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Jekyll Island Golf Club: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Georgia Sea Turtle Center: closed Friday until further notice
- Jekyll Island Museum & Museum properties: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Jekyll Island Mini Golf: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Jekyll Island Bike Barn: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Jekyll Island Tennis Center: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Jekyll Island Guest Information Center: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Jekyll Island Campground: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Life is Good: closed noon Friday until further notice
- Summer Waves: closed for the season
Based on the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, and to ensure the safety of guests and vendors, the 2017 Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival, scheduled for September 15-17, 2017, has been canceled. At this point we have no concrete plans to reschedule the festival, and will be in touch as we review potential options.
For continuing updates, please to refer to the Jekyll Island website.
Ware County to close schools
Select Ware County School System facilities have been identified as shelters for the American Red Cross and various governmental and public service agencies from the surrounding area. To allow these agencies time to evacuate to our area ahead of the storm, all Ware County Schools and the Central Office will release early on Friday.
DAFFODIL and Ware County Learning Center will release at 11 a.m., and Center Elementary will release at 11:15 a.m. All other elementary schools will release at 11:30 a.m. The high school will release at 12:30 p.m., and both middle schools will release at 12:45 p.m.
Schools will REMAIN CLOSED Monday and Tuesday. A decision regarding when schools will reopen will be announced via Facebook, One Call, and our website, as well as TV and radio stations.
Additional information regarding shelter sites will be shared via Facebook and the county's website.
Brantley County issues mandatory evacuations for some residents
The Brantley County Emergency Management Agency said there's a voluntary evacuation effective Thursday at 4 p.m. for entire county.
Mandatory evacuation for all residents east of Highway 301 will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday.
For a list of Red Cross shelters currently open in Georgia, click here.
Brantley County schools are closed Friday, Monday and Tuesday.
All county offices will be open on Friday.
Copyright 2017 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.