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Hurricane Dorian Coastal Georgia clears out

Kemp orders Savannah area evacuated; Walton EMC waits to deploy

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Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 5:47 pm

Coastal Georgians were evacuating Tuesday as Hurricane Dorian churned in the Atlantic.

The storm had weakened from its peak Sunday night, when it was a catastrophic Category 5 — the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — with sustained 185 mph winds.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dorian was Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 110 mph.

Dorian was about 105 miles east of Vero Beach, Florida, and moving northwest at 6 mph.

A hurricane warning was in effect from the Savannah River to Edisto Beach, South Carolina, and from the South Santee River, South Caroilna, to Surf City, North Carolina.

The storm was expected to turn toward the north by Wednesday evening, followed by a turn to the north-northeast Thursday morning. This track would take its core close to the east coast of Florida and Georgia on Tuesday night through Wednesday night, and near or over the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday through Friday morning.

Gov. Brian P. Kemp ordered an evacuation of parts of six coastal Georgia counties east of Interstate 95. Those residents in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties were to begin getting out at noon Monday.

Tuesday morning, state transportation officials opened all lanes of I-16 to westbound traffic between Savannah and Dublin.

President Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration for the state, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

“This is a dangerous and powerful storm with the potential to bring damaging winds and catastrophic flooding to parts of Georgia,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said.

“Please stay informed and make sure you are taking steps to keep yourselves and your families out of harm’s way.”

Crews from Monroe-based Walton Electric Membership Corp. were preparing to activate to help restore power if fellow EMCs are affected.

“We’re on standby to help if needed,” spokesman Greg Brooks said Monday.

Walton EMC sent workers out last year after Hurricane Michael devastated the southwestern part of the state. Crews from this area helped out at Colquitt EMC in Moultrie, Oconee EMC in Dudley, and also went to North Carolina after Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

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