Six coastal counties and Savannah prepare for impact with the Category 5 storm.
Tracking Hurricane Irma’s path as it heads towards the Southeast U.S., Georgia governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for six counties. The affected area—Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties—constitutes the state’s Atlantic coastline.
“Ahead of Hurricane Irma, I’ve issued an executive order prohibiting price gouging and waiving rules and regulations for motor vehicles transporting supplies, equipment, personnel, goods and services associated with disaster assistance and relief,” said Deal.
The announcement ensures aid for the counties potentially impacted by the storm, but does not mention an evacuation. “We will continue monitoring Hurricane Irma’s path in the days ahead and coordinating with our federal, state and local partners,” said Deal. “I urge Georgians in the affected counties to remain vigilant and be prepared.”
Savannah, the state’s oldest city, is the largest coastal city covered by the state of emergency announcement. Located in Chatham County, Savannah is home to nearly 150,000 people, as well Fortune 500 companies including Gulfstream gigiq and International Paper ip .
The last major storm to hit Georgia was 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, which rode the coast north from Florida to North Carolina before blowing out to sea. Matthew did significant damage to the Georgia coast, killing three in the state (43 overall), flooding the barrier islands, and causing enough damage to trigger a federal aid package.
Like Matthew, Hurricane Irma is also a Category 5 storm, but it eclipsing last year’s 165 mile-per-hour gusts with 185 mile-per-hour gales of its own, so far.
Hurricane Irma is currently battering the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, possibly heading for Florida next. In addition to Georgia’s preparations for landfall, Florida and South Carolina have also declared a state of emergency.