Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a State of Emergency Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Michael, which was expected to slam Florida as a Category 4 storm then travel northeast towards Georgia and the Carolinas on Thursday and Friday.
Deal today issued the emergency declaration for 92 Georgia counties. The emergency declaration is effective for seven days and makes all state resources available to local governments and entities within the impacted area of the hurricane.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael,” said Deal. “In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant. We will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael’s path and GEMA/HS is leading our preparedness efforts. We are also working with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states.”
According to RMS, Hurricane Michael strengthened into an extremely dangerous Category 4 major hurricane on Wednesday, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 140 mph.
The system is forecast to make landfall over the Florida Panhandle region later today and is set to become the most intense hurricane to make landfall over the Florida Panhandle in recorded history, RMS said.
It is likely to produce potentially catastrophic wind damage where the core of the hurricane moves onshore in the Florida Panhandle. Dangerous hurricane-force winds are also forecast to extend well inland across portions of northern Florida, southern Georgia, and southeast Alabama.
Life-threatening storm surge is likely across parts of the Panhandle region, particularly between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach, where up to 13 ft of inundation is forecast, according to RMS. Heavy rainfall from Michael could also lead to localized flash flooding across the southeastern United States.
In a statement Tuesday, Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens also urged residents to get prepared.
“Being prepared can save lives, property and a lot of misery,” said Hudgens. “With Michael quickly approaching, I’m urging all Georgia residents to take action to protect themselves, their homes and their businesses.”
Hudgens recommended that property owners make copies of their insurance policies, obtain insurance company’s phone number; inventory their personal belongings; and keep all of these documents with them should they be forced to leave their homes.
He also suggested the following storm preparation tips:
- For personal safety, identify what storm shelter is available to you and prepare an evacuation plan.
- Make a plan for your pets. Not all emergency shelters will take pets.
- Contact your insurance agent immediately if you have had damage to either your house or car; do not delay. Agents should provide claims forms and arrange for an insurance adjuster to visit the property or look at your automobile.
- A typical homeowner’s policy does not cover damage from flood waters. A separate policy must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. Coverage usually goes into effect 30 days after the policy is purchased.
- Unlike a typical homeowner’s policy, a mobile home policy usually includes flood coverage and does not have to be purchased separately.
- Secure your property. For example, if your roof was damaged or blown off, or a tree has pierced the roof, cover the affected area with a tarp or plywood to protect your property from further damage. Keep receipts of materials used for repairs; your insurance company should reimburse you for repair costs.
The 92 counties under emergency declaration are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, McIntosh, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth counties.
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