Coastal Officials Encourage Storm Readiness
As Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti and Cuba Tuesday, emergency management officials on the Georgia and South Carolina coasts urged residents to prepare for possible effects of the storm later in the week.
Forecasters expect the storm's track to turn northwest by Wednesday night, which could bring significant flooding, heavy rain and strong winds late in the week. There is a 60 to 70 percent chance of tropical storm force winds on the Georgia coast in the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Chatham, Glynn and Beaufort Emergency Management Agencies said Tuesday they're closely monitoring the storm.
They encouraged residents to watch the forecast as well. All three agencies offer automated updates that residents can register for (Chatham, Glynn, Beaufort). There are also emergency planning and alert apps available from the Red Cross and Chatham EMA.
Tybee Island officials said even if Matthew stays farther out to sea, it will likely bring dangerous surf and a risk of rip currents. They said any decision about evacuation notices would not be made until Wednesday at the earliest.
Because there are no longer lifeguards on duty, the city is urging people to stay out of the water.
Coastal residents should secure any outdoor items that might be blown around by strong winds, or bring them inside.
CEMA said residents should also finalize storm plans. That includes planning routes in case of an evacuation, topping off fuel tanks and coordinating communication plans with family members and loved ones. The agency also urged residents to include pets in any storm or evacuation plans.
Residents should also prepare emergency kits in case of power loss or evacuation, according to the agency.
The Red Cross recommends stocking a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
In addition to drinking water, it's important to stock extra water for washing and flushing in case of power loss.
SCAD Savannah released a statement announcing that "to ensure student safety, SCAD Savannah will close academic buildings, auxiliary service and library buildings for students on Wednesday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 9. Athletics, events, and all other SCAD programming, including SCAD Day, are cancelled during this time."