SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Latest on preparations in Georgia for Hurricane Matthew (all times local):
The governor of Georgia is urging a voluntary evacuation for six coastal counties as Hurricane Matthew approaches the southern region of the U.S.
Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement Wednesday that he also expanded the state of emergency to the 17 counties in southeast Georgia. He says that brings the total to 30 counties that are under the emergency declaration.
The voluntary evacuation order involves Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden county. More than 522,000 people populate the six coastal counties.
Deal says the emergency declaration also warns against price gouging. He is encouraging residents to remain calm and make responsible decisions while he monitors the storm’s path.
The additional 17 counties in the state of emergency include Screven, Jenkins, Emanuel, Treutlen, Candler, Toombs, Tattnall, Jeff Davis, Appling, Coffee, Bacon, Pierce, Ware, Atkinson, Clinch, Burke and Echols.
Forecasters have placed all 100 miles of the Georgia coast under a hurricane watch.
The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday that Hurricane Matthew could bring powerful winds and dangerous storm surge to Georgia from the city of St. Marys near the Florida state line to Savannah.
Forecasts show Matthew will likely pass offshore Saturday, but close enough to land to cause potentially serious damage.
The hurricane center says tropical storm winds of 39 mph or greater could reach coastal Georgia on Thursday, while hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or greater could arrive late Friday. Several feet of storm surge are possible, especially if peak storm conditions occur during high tide.
Georgia’s governor has lifted a variety of federal restrictions on truck drivers, hoping to prevent any disruption to transport of fuel, food and agriculture as Hurricane Matthew approaches.
Gov. Nathan Deal issued the executive order on Wednesday, one day after he declared a state of emergency for 13 Georgia counties on and near the state’s 100 miles of coastline.
The order affecting the trucking industry is set to expire in a week.
Coastal Georgia hasn’t seen a large scale hurricane evacuation since Hurricane Floyd passed in 1999.
Earlier Wednesday, Coastal Chatham and Glynn counties called for a voluntary evacuation of about 47,000 residents. The city of Tybee Island issued a mandatory evaluation order that began at 3 p.m.
Island residents on the Georgia coast are packing up to flee Hurricane Matthew.
Loren Kuck (COOK) of Tybee Island was loading suitcases and a computer into his pickup Wednesday afternoon not long after local officials called for roughly 30,000 people living in island communities east of Savannah to evacuate. Kuck said many of his neighbors seem determined to stay, but he would rather watch the storm on TV from a safe distance.
Susan Deason was enlisting several friends to help her evacuate with 14 dogs and cats she’s taken in as rescue animals. Deason says in previous years she might have stayed to ride out the storm, but now she’s “got other lives and mouths that depend on me.”
Officials say the Savannah area should begin seeing storm impacts Friday.
Roughly 30,000 people living in island communities near Savannah are being urged to evacuate as Hurricane Matthew approaches.
Al Scott, chairman of the Chatham County Commission, told a news conference Wednesday the local evacuation order affects Tybee Island and other low-lying areas east of Savannah. That area accounts for roughly 11 percent of Chatham County’s 278,000 residents.
Scott said local officials are mostly concerned about the potential for several feet of storm surge along the coast and coastal waterways. Strong winds from Matthew are expected to arrive in the area Friday night, with the center of the storm passing Saturday.
Coastal Georgia hasn’t seen a large scale hurricane evacuation since Hurricane Floyd passed in 1999. Earlier Wednesday, Coastal Glynn County called for a voluntary evacuation of about 17,000 residents.
Coastal Georgia residents are preparing their homes and businesses for Hurricane Matthew and to evacuate if necessary.
On Tybee Island, two adult children of 92-year-old Lou Arcangeli on Wednesday prepared his home for the impending storm. Arcangeli calls the storm “serious” and will keep an eye on it.
Arcangeli has lived in the Savannah area since 1979, when Hurricane David became the last hurricane to make landfall on Georgia’s 100-mile coast. His son, also named Lou, arrived with sheets of plywood strapped to the top of his van with concrete blocks, folded tarps and a chainsaw in the back.
Don Crum and his wife, who own Bowie Seafood on the island, were closing for the weekend and boarding up their windows Wednesday. Crum said he would probably lose up to $6,000 in business, but would rather make sure their business was protected.
The mayor of Georgia’s largest public beach says local officials are still weighing whether to ask 3,000 Tybee Island residents to evacuate as Hurricane Matthew approaches the U.S. East Coast.
Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman (BELL-tuhr-man) said he was prepared to issue a local evacuation order Wednesday morning but held back after forecasts showed the storm slowing in its approach. Tybee Island is located about 18 miles east of Savannah.
Buelterman said Tybee officials would re-evaluate possible evacuations later Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center predicts Matthew will move dangerously close to the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the coming days. Forecasters say it’s still too soon to know the storm’s precise path.
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in 13 Georgia counties.
About 17,000 people living on islands on the Georgia coast are being urged to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew.
Commissioners in coastal Glynn County called Wednesday for a voluntary evacuation of four islands in its jurisdiction — St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island and Little St. Simons Island.
The National Weather Service predicts powerful Hurricane Matthew will move in dangerously close to the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the coming days.
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 13 Georgia counties on and near the state’s 100 miles of coastline.
Glynn County officials said public schools in Glynn County will cancel classes starting Thursday and government offices are scheduled to close Friday.
Public schools in the Savannah area have closed as coastal Georgia prepares for possible impacts from Hurricane Matthew.
The Savannah-Chatham County school board has cancelled classes Wednesday through Friday because of the weather threat. On Wednesday morning, the powerful storm was churning northward through the Bahamas with its dangerous winds still more than 700 miles from the Georgia coast.
The National Weather Service predicts Matthew will move close to the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the coming days.
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 13 Georgia counties and ordered state emergency management officials to work closely with local agencies.