Will Irma Hit Savannah? Georgia's Governor Has Ordered Mandatory Evacuations
As it heads toward the Southeastern United States, meteorologists predict that Hurricane Irma might hit Savannah, Georgia, among other cities on the coast. The beautiful and historical coastal city could be exposed to the terrifying Irma, which has broken records and received the intimidating title of the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in history. Given the risk of being pummeled by a colossal hurricane like Irma, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued an order for mandatory evacuation for those on Georgia's coastline. The order pertains to areas east of Chatham County, which also includes Savannah. The order will go into effect on Saturday, according to local officials.
"I encourage all Georgians in our coastal areas that could be impacted by this storm to evacuate the area as soon as possible," the governor said. In addition to a mandatory evacuation order, the state has declared a state of emergency for 30 counties situated on Georgia's expansive coastline. Residents on the coastline were implored to leave their counties on Saturday morning but in some cases there were reports of local officials advising coastliners to leave the area on Friday in order to avoid any potential dangers.
This isn't the first time that locals in Georgia have had to leave their homes to avoid the chaos and destruction of a menacing hurricane. In 2016, locals in the southern state were told to flee their homes ahead of Hurricane Matthew.
In addition to its state of emergency declaration as well as the mandatory evacuation order, the state announced the authorization of 5,000 National Guard members who are expected to be present to conduct emergency rescues in over 30 counties in Georgia.
With the kind of reputation that Hurricane Irma has amassed in a few days, Georgia's local government's hastened and precautionary response is no surprise. In fact, it seems like the most prudent move in the face of a particularly intense hurricane season where three hurricanes are currently brewing in the Atlantic: Irma, Katia, and Jose. Although Katia and Jose are Category 1 storms, Hurricane Irma has reportedly decimated a large amount of the Island of Barbuda, according to Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne.
Meteorologists expect Irma to hit Southern Florida in the form of a Category 4 hurricane over the weekend, but as for Georgia, as well as the Carolinas, the hurricane's trajectory is unclear. Still, locals in all three states should follow the sound wisdom behind the "it's better to be safe than sorry" adage and leave relevant coastal counties on time.