Gov. Brian Kemp warned residents of six Georgia counties under an evacuation order that went into effect at noon Monday that it is "not worth the risk" to try and ride things out.
"This is not one to play around with," the governor said at a Savannah press conference.
Kemp's evacuation order applies to Chatham, Camden, Liberty, McIntosh, Bryan and Glynn Counties.
"Right now the latest projections show the hurricane headed toward Georgia's coastline," Kemp said. "Although this trajectory remains uncertain, it is imperative that we take action now to mitigate harm and ensure the safety of our citizens and our visitors that are in the state of Georgia during this time."
"This storm is a big one," the governor added.
Kemp said the storm threatens winds along the coast of 40-60 mph, a storm surge of 3-6 feet and 4-6 of rain, which could bring with it flash flooding.
The evacuations for the six counties were for areas east of Interstate-95. The Georgia Department of Transportation will reverse eastbound flow on Interstate-16 beginning on Tuesday at 8 a.m. to facilitate evacuations.
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The governor said state officials are working with the Red Cross to open shelters in McDuffie, Lawrence, Bibb, Coffee and Ware Counties.
"Even with all of these preparations, we still cannot stress enough that Hurricane Dorian remains a significant threat to Georgia," Kemp said. "We strongly urge all residents to stay vigilant as we track its path and evaluate potential impact and damage."
He said he would "ask everyone to heed those warnings" and that "you may be on your own" if you try to ride out the storm at home.
"Please don't take this risk," Kemp said.
Dorian, which was downgraded to a Category 4 storm on Monday after it had grown to be one of the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic, is expected to remain over the Bahamas throughout the day and approach Florida by evening.
The hurricane is expected to make its way north up the Florida coast and approach southeast Georgia on Wednesday.
State of Georgia Resources
- View up-to-date emergency declarations from Governor Kemp here.
- View updates from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency here.
- Visit Ready Georgia for weather alerts and emergency preparedness tips.
- Follow Georgia 511 for real-time traffic information.
- Learn what to do before, during, and after a flood here.
- Report power outages by contacting your power provider. The two main providers in Georgia are:
- Call your local non-emergency police line to report a downed tree on a main road.
Please stay aware of any forecast changes as there are still many questions that remain about where Dorian goes after impacting Florida.