TIFTON — Tropical storm force winds and heavy rain are a possibility with Hurricane Dorian, according to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Kemp gave an update about potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian Thursday afternoon.
Kemp said that they are expecting to see impacts along the coast from storm surge Sunday night into Monday morning. Tropical storm force winds may extend more than 100 miles from the storm center and South Georgia can expect heavy rain possibly leading to flooding.
Two to three inches of rain are forecast for southwest Georgia, according to the National Weather Service.
The governor declared a state of emergency for 12 counties along or near the Georgia coast, covering the entire Georgia coastline.
Kemp signed an executive order Thursday that frees up state resources for emergency preparations and response, according to the Associated Press. It also prohibits price gouging for goods and services such as gasoline.
The governor stressed that current predictions could change since the storm track is still uncertain and urged citizens to be prepared to move quickly once more updated information becomes available in the next 24 hours.
Kemp said that the storm has slowed down, which gives more time for those in its path to prepare but also allows the storm, which is expected to be a category three upon landfall, to build in strength.
South Georgia residents should also expect heavy traffic and limited hotel room availability due to evacuees from Florida.
Kemp said that updated information will be available from www.gema.gov or 1-800-TRY-GEMA (1-800-879-4362), as well as the Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia State Patrol and local first responder and emergency management offices.
In Florida, residents picked the shelves clean of bottled water and lined up at gas stations Thursday as Hurricane Dorian threatened to broadside the state over Labor Day weekend, according to the Associated Press.
Leaving mercifully little damage in its wake in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the second hurricane of the 2019 season swirled toward the U.S., with forecasters warning it will draw energy from the warm, open waters as it closes in.
The National Hurricane Center said the Category 1 storm is expected to strengthen into a potentially catastrophic Cat 4 with winds of 130 mph (209 kph) and slam into the U.S. on Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia — a 500-mile stretch that reflected the high degree of uncertainty this far out.
“If it makes landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, that’s a big deal,” said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. “A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims.”
President Donald Trump declared Florida is “going to be totally ready.”
With the storm’s track still unclear, no immediate mass evacuations were ordered.