Tybee Island residents taking no chances ahead of Irma - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tybee Island residents taking no chances ahead of Irma

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -

People living on Tybee say they aren't taking any chances, and they're making preparations for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma.

A repeat effort that we saw during Hurricane Matthew preps is loading up sandbags at the sand volleyball courts behind Tybee City Hall.

We've already heard several times from residents who stayed despite the evacuation order for Matthew, that should the same order come again, they won't be sticking around this time. That's what emergency officials want to see everyone do, again, should the situation arise. In the meantime, loading up sandbag after sandbag is one proactive measure many are taking Wednesday afternoon. They've already gone through most of the supply and another truckload of about 600 bags is expected to be brought out Thursday morning. One resident says it's not panic, rather just being proactive and smart ahead of the storm.

"Right now, it's getting my windows covered up, putting some sandbags around the doorways and stuff to try to prevent any rising water to come in. If it gets up about that, I'll just fix whatever I can when I get back," said Tybee Island resident, Michael Campbell. "Our plans are to head inland and try to stay out of the path of the storm. If the storm comes up through Florida, we'll just have to move wherever we can."

"Tonight, I'm packing up and leaving tomorrow after my class and going up to Atlanta, regardless," said Currie Heinze, Tybee resident. 

Tybee Island leaders posted online Wednesday night that they have been talking with Chatham Emergency Management about possible evacuation, decisions, and timing. Factors like Irma's projected path and evacuations in neighboring jurisdictions are taken into consideration before an order is given. We're expecting an update from Tybee Island city leaders Thursday morning. 

In the meantime, Tybee residents are looking for proactive measures to protect their property, but say no matter what happens, things can be replaced; people can't. 

"To me, it's safer to leave and come back and see what happened than it is to sit here and watch something and know that you can't get off the island," said resident, Campbell said. 

It's been less than a year since Hurricane Matthew brushed by the island, leaving a lasting impression for many. 

"Matthew opened eyes. That got a few people thinking about taking more precautions," said resident, Marvin Godfrey. 

Some still have repairs to make, even as Major Hurricane Irma moves towards the Georgia coast. 

"They're still putting things back together from last year, and there are people on the island. I know of several families who haven't even started repairing their homes," said resident, Gene Foster. 

All are hoping no additional repairs are needed as they brace for the potential effects of Irma, whatever those may be. Tybee leaders say if justified, they can give an evacuation order even if the rest of the county does not. Again, no order has been given and there's still a lot to take into consideration as we move into Thursday. 

The following is a message from Mayor Buelterman on Tybee's Hurricane Irma preparations:

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