Georgia’s governor has declared a state of emergency for all 159 counties as forecasters now say Hurricane Florence could take a southwest turn.
Now, Georgians are bracing for the possibility of heavy rains, winds and potential flooding along the coast.
In a news release Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal says the state “is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence.”
“In light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas,” he said.
At a press conference following the order, Dennis Jones of the Chatham Emergency Management Agency, gave a more hopeful report.
“As of right now, we have a moderate risk for wind, we have a very low risk for storm surge and we also have a low risk for flooding as associated with rainfall,” Jones said, adding that hurricanes warnings and watches don’t extend beyond Buford.
But he added that the storm is “really, really big” and that the radius has the potential to reach the county.
“We will keep evaluating after every advisory,” Jones said
Deal’s declaration Wednesday covers comes as the National Weather Service’s storm forecast shows a chance that Florence’s track might turn toward the southwest as it approaches the Carolinas later this week.
No storm watches or warnings are in effect for Georgia. But forecasters say there’s an increased chance for tropical storm winds to reach Savannah.
Deal’s emergency declaration cited potential “changes in the storm’s trajectory” as well as an influx of evacuees coming to Georgia from the Carolinas. The order eases regulations on trucks hauling gasoline and relief supplies into Georgia.