Gov. Deal activates 1,500 Georgia Guardsmen for Hurricane Michael

State of emergency declared in 92 Georgia counties

By Allyson Henning - Reporter, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency Tuesday for 92 counties in Georgia ahead of Hurricane Michael and at 8 a.m. Wednesday, he activated 1,500 Georgia Guardsmen to be placed on standby and deployed as needed to areas affected by Hurricane Michael.

The state of emergency includes the following Southeast Georgia counties: Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Glynn, Pierce and Ware.

Deal said the forecast for Hurricane Michael prompted the declaration, which was recommended by Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) officials.

The emergency declaration is effective for seven days and makes all state resources available to local governments and entities within the impacted area of the hurricane.

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael,” Deal said. “In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant. We will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael’s path and GEMA/HS is leading our preparedness efforts. We are also working with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Michael.”

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The 92 counties under emergency declaration are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, McIntosh, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth counties.

To read the executive order, click here. A map of the counties under emergency declaration is below.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit the GEMA/HS website here.

Brantley County

Brantley County schools will be closed Wednesday. School district officials have not decided whether they will remain closed Thursday. 

The Brantley Family Medicine Center, which is part of Southeast Georgia Health System, will close at 2 p.m. Wednesday and reopen at noon Thursday.

Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick and Camden Campus hospitals and physician practices will remain open and continue to provide full hospital services. 

Charlton County 

Administrators with the Charlton County School System have been closely monitoring the development of Hurricane Michael and made the decision that Wednesday will be an early release day (1 p.m.).

School officials said they will continue to monitor the weather progression and any decision about school closing on Thursday will be posted on the Charlton County School System's Facebook page and website, and calls will be made using the emergency notification system, OneCall.

Glynn County

Due to Hurricane Michael, all schools in the Glynn County School System will dismiss an hour early Wednesday and will be canceled Thursday. All athletic and extracurricular activities will be canceled as well, including after-school programs and aftercare services. Unless otherwise stated by the Glynn County School System, all schools will resume on Friday. For information updates, please visit www.glynn.k12.ga.us.

The wind, rain and flooding remain a concern with the increasing threat of tornadoes. The public should be aware that there will not be an evacuation ordered for the storm event. Residents and visitors are advised to shelter in place as the storm passes. 

Georgia is currently under a state of emergency. This declaration extends to commerce and the uninterrupted supply of petroleum products, emergency or disaster-related materials, supplies, goods and services. This does not declare any evacuations for included counties or change messages from local officials.

Conditions are likely to begin deteriorating during the late evening hours of Wednesday and continue to worsen until morning on Thursday. At this time, forecasts are calling for 30-40 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 50 mph. Estimated rainfall is two to three inches and a storm surge of one to two feet is likely.

Possible flooding could occur on the FJ Torras Causeway leading to lane closure. Based on current forecast models, it is not anticipated that the FJ Torras Causeway will be closed.  The Georgia Department of Transportation will close the Sidney Lanier Bridge on US-17 at 6 p.m. Wednesday to reopen when safe.

During the storm, please stay off of the roads and out of the water. Do not drive through deep water, that intersections with power outages should be treated as four-way stops, and alert Georgia Power of any downed power lines by going to http://outagemap.georgiapower.com/external/default.html

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will not be on the water in the height of the storm and Coast Guard Station and Massengale Beach entrances will be closed until 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, 2018. Trash service is expected to continue as scheduled, if possible. Non-emergency callers should call the Glynn County Customer Service Department at 554-7111.

There are several closures announced at this time:

  • Glynn County State, Magistrate, Probate and Juvenile Courts will cancel court for Wednesday and Thursday, with the exception of Grand Jury and Drug Court.
  • Glynn County Government Offices and City of Brunswick will close at 2 p.m. Wednesday until noon Thursday. Public Safety will continue normal shifts. Glynn County Animal Control will not have officers on the road during these hours.
  • Brunswick Municipal Courts will be in session Wednesday morning. 
  • The Jekyll Island Authority’s amenities and administrative offices will delay opening until noon Thursday.
  • The College of Coastal Georgia will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.
  • All County road work on Demere Road and Southport at Highway 17 has been suspended.

Now is the time to prepare for the potential impacts Michael may have on the area. 

  • Secure loose or lightweight items outside your house or business. 
  • Keep your vehicles fueled. 
  • Finalize your disaster kit. 
  • Ensure you have at least 3 days of water and non-perishable foods. 
  • Ensure you have extra medications and medical supplies. 
  • If your medication requires refrigeration, ensure you have a plan in place should you lose power for an extended period of time. 
  • Make sure all information in your family communication plan is up to date and everyone knows the plan. 
  • Make provisions for your pet. Make sure they are inside, out of the elements, and have plenty of food and water. 
  • Flooding is possible in low lying areas; Turn Around Don't Drown! 

Glynn County officials will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates as needed. Updates will be available at www.glynncounty.org. Officials advise the public to use the latest forecast models from the National Weather Service Jacksonville. The public is strongly encouraged to begin reviewing plans and making arrangements now. Secure all outdoor objects that may be impacted by high winds. 

Ware County

Michael is anticipated to have pose the greatest threat to Ware County sometime Wednesday afternoon, Superintendent of Schools Jim LeBrun said in a news release.

LeBrun said the storm could reach Ware between 3 and 9 p.m. It's predicted to produce four to six inches of rain and  40-50 mph winds that may down power lines, uproot trees and knock out power.

Ware County shelters will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday. None of the shelters allow pets, but service animals are allowed.

  • Waycross City Auditorium on Pendleton Street
  • Manor Community Center in Manor
  • Indian Mound Church in Millwood

There's also the possibility that the storm could produce the sort of conditions that would increase the risk of tornadoes.

"At this time, no shelters have been established at our schools," he said. "A safe shelter will be activated in Ware County, location to be announced."

Coastal Pines Technical College announced:

  • Classes have been canceled for Wednesday and Thursday on all campuses. 
  • Dual Enrollment students taking classes on a high school campus are expected to follow instructions and decisions made by their local school system.
  • All classes will resume a normal schedule on Monday, and the college will resume normal business hours on Friday.

Camden County

Camden County Schools will be closed Thursday. All Camden County, city of Kingsland, city of St. Marys and city of Woodbine offices will be closed Thursday. They expect to reopen on Friday.

At this time, of Camden County is under a Tropical Storm Watch, meaning that tropical storm-force winds are possible somewhere within the area during the next 48 hours. There is a slight risk for tornadoes Wednesday. Coastal Camden County is in a Coastal Flood Warning, meaning that onshore winds and tides will combine to generate minor flooding of low areas along the shore. There is a High Surf Advisory and a high risk of Rip Currents.

All residents should remain aware of these threats, and understand that forecast track and storm intensity could change.

Deal has issued a State of Emergency, this declaration is focused on preparing the state for possible impacts, by ensuring that critical resources such as fuel and other goods are available. The Governor’s declaration of emergency does not require any immediate action for Camden residents other than to monitor local weather information and public advisories.

All Camden County residents are urged to sign-up for the CodeRED Emergency Notification System on the Camden County website, www.camdencountyga.gov. This is a high-speed Communication Service available for mass Emergency Notifications. CodeRED is critical during situations like this as a direct method of communication from Camden County EMA  to your landline, cellphone or email. TDD/TTY service is also available. 

All local residents should monitor the Camden County WebsiteCamden County EMA Facebook and Camden County EMA Twitter for updates. At this time, there is no intent to close Camden County Government offices on Wednesday or Thursday. In unincorporated Camden County, curbside garbage collection will remain on schedule. 

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