Georgia Emergency Officials Give Update On Hurricane Dorian
UPDATE Thursday, 5:00 p.m.: Gov. Kemp declared a state of emergency in a dozen coastal Georgia counties ahead as Hurricane Dorian approaches the Southeast.
The affected counties are Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, Pierce and Wayne. Kemp says for now the major danger for southeast Georgia is the potential for flooding from Dorian which looks to become a massive but very slow moving storm. State laws preventing price gouging at the gas pump are also in effect.
UPDATE Thursday, 3:00 p.m: Gov. Brian Kemp reiterated that Dorian's path was still too uncertain to make big moves in emergency preparedness in Georgia. However, he did say that heavy rain and unusually high tides will make flooding in some parts of the state almost a certainty. Kemp advised preparing for flooding now.
UPDATE 6:18 p.m.: Governor Brian Kemp said in a briefing Wednesday evening that state officials are monitoring Hurricane Dorian closely and preparing for potential evacuations, although it was too soon to tell the exact track of the storm or predict its impact on Georgia.
"Currently, projections are very uncertain," he said. "But we're committed to the safety of Georgia families across our state."
Kemp said the state's evacuation planning includes handling evacuees coming north from Florida. The discussions also include "vulnerable populations, including the elderly, hospital populations, the homeless and inmates."
There has been no emergency declaration for Georgia.
In addition to urging coastal residents to prepare for the storm, Kemp encouraged anyone traveling to Coastal Georgia or to Florida to "keep a very close eye on the weather."
"Your safety is vitally important," Kemp said. "Be vigilant."
UPDATE 6 p.m.: The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency will stream an update about Hurricane Dorian Tuesday evening. Watch live below.
ORIGINAL STORY: Emergency Managers on the Georgia coast said Wednesday they are watching Hurricane Dorian as it approaches the U.S. and preparing to respond if it impacts Georgia. They urged residents to check emergency kits and evacuation plans.
The Chatham Emergency Management Agency announced it was entering an "Enhanced Monitoring Phase," meaning staff will monitor the storm and provide regular updates on social media and the CEMA website. Emergency managers in other coastal counties also said they were monitoring the storm.
"One benefit that we have with a hurricane threat is we know that it's coming," said CEMA Director Dennis Jones. "We can watch it develop, we can watch it as it progresses up the Caribbean. So it's not a surprise to us."
Forecasters said that Dorian is likely to intensify over the next several days, becoming a Category 3 hurricane. Tropical storm or hurricane conditions were forecast for Puerto Rico Wednesday.
Tropical-storm-force winds from #Dorian could begin in parts of Florida *as early as* Saturday or Saturday night. Now is the time to begin thinking about what kinds of preparations you might need to make over the next couple of days. https://t.co/f5cqCroirU pic.twitter.com/mIGTVR6SUG— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 28, 2019
Heavy rain and possible storm surge and hurricane-force winds were forecast for the southeastern U.S. later this week or early next week, though forecasters said Wednesday it is too soon to predict when that will happen.
Forecasters urged residents not to focus on the forecast track of the storm's center, but instead to ensure they have a hurricane plan in place.
CEMA Director Jones also encouraged residents to consider Wednesday a "preparedness day."
"Use today as that trigger to go ahead and put that kit together, and if you don't need it for this storm you've got it for next storm," he said.
CEMA urged coastal residents to prepare by preparing or inspecting an emergency supply kit, creating or updating a detailed family evacuation plan, documenting important belongings and checking for loose items outside that could fly around in strong winds.
Residents with functional access or medical needs can register in advance with the county health department in case of an evacuation.
Jones said with possible storm impacts five days away, it was too soon to cancel or change Labor Day travel plans. Instead, he said residents should monitor the storm's progress and the forecast.