Hurricane Matthew leads to coastal Georgia evacuations - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Gov. Nathan Deal provides update on hurricane efforts

Source: GEMHSA Source: GEMHSA
Residents in Brunswick, GA are preparing for impact from a very strong Hurricane Matthew. (SOURCE:WGCL) Residents in Brunswick, GA are preparing for impact from a very strong Hurricane Matthew. (SOURCE:WGCL)

Georgia's Governor updated the public on the state's efforts to prepare for Hurricane Matthew as it moves north.

The governor, backed by several other state officials continually hammered home the importance of waiting to return for those who have evacuated and, for those who stayed, to shelter-in-place until the storm passes.

Thursday, Deal issued a mandatory evacuation east of Interstate 95 for six coastal counties on Thursday, ahead of hurricane Matthew as the storm made landfall on the eastern side of Florida.

The six coastal counties include Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden counties. A voluntary evacuation request issued Wednesday remains in effect for residents west of I-95 in those counties.

“The National Hurricane Center predicts Hurricane Matthew will intensify as it moves from the Bahamas up the Florida Coast,” said Deal."I urge Georgians in the affected areas to remain calm, be prepared and make informed, responsible decisions as we continue to monitor Hurricane Matthew’s path.”

In order to facilitate getting people away from the coast ahead of this dangerous storm, officials have turned all four lanes of I-16 to Westbound. 

Metro Atlanta preparing to assist

The storm has had impacts all the way through North Georgia, leading officials to suspend road work to accommodate evacuees.

All road work on I-75 from the Florida/Georgia line to Barrett Pkwy. in anticipation of people leaving Florida, and the Georgia coast to travel away from the huge storm's impact.

Wellstar’s Atlanta Medical Center and Medical Center South has taken in six patients so far, and are preparing to take in more as hospitals along the East Coast evacuate ahead of hurricane Matthew.

A representative for the health care system said the patients they have so far are from South Carolina, but they’re expecting more as the storm's impact gets closer.

So far, they’re discharging any patients they can and stocking up on supplies, ahead of the storm.

Assistance, shelters available ahead of storm

Friday, Deal and state officials said more than 9000 people are in shelters already, with more expected. The state park system said cabins are full, but campgrounds are open for those who have appropriate bedding and need to evacuate. 

To locate a facility, call your local authorities, download the Ready Georgia app or visit GEMHSA’s website. A map of shelters is also available on the American Red Cross website. An evacuation map and a shelter map are attached. 

Robbins AFB prepared to deliver assistance

Officials with Robins AFB said they'll also help respond in the wake of the storm.

Thursday night, they opened the Emergency Family Assistance Center to provide shelter for Department of Defense personnel and their families evacuating from affected areas. They said they have received 40 families who intend to ride out the storm on base. 

The base is also staging helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah to protect them from the storm and support quick response search and rescue efforts and will deploy tactical communications packages to facilitate recovery. 

"Saving lives and alleviating suffering is extremely important to Team Robins, and we're "all in" to support Hurricane Matthew recovery operations," officials said in a release.

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