Tybee Mayor urging residents to leave the island - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tybee Mayor urging residents to leave the island

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Tybee Island is largely a ghost town ahead of Hurricane Irma, but even mandatory evacuation isn't keeping some people from the beach.

One of the main concerns on Tybee Island is already here - wind. Mayor Jason Buelterman says that along with storm surges are big reasons for the island’s mandatory evacuation.

That mandatory evacuation started on Friday morning, but people were still on the beach this afternoon taking walks and taking pictures. The mayor says he’s worried about gusty winds knocking down trees and power lines, but Jackson Robertson lives on Tybee and says he’s planning to stay for the storm.

He evacuated to Effingham County for Matthew but says changes in Irma’s track changed his decision to leave this time.

“The plan was always to leave on Sunday if it got bad, but over the last 48 hours, it seems like it’s tracking more west," said Jackson Robertson, Lives on Tybee Island. "So there’s nowhere to really go, and since now the mandatory's been lifted for Chatham, we just figured we’d stay. The house is pretty secure. We have everything we need in case power goes out, so I think we’re OK.”

One person still on the beach was 80-year-old Marie Milburn and her dog Muggs. She says they took a walk on the beach yesterday and enjoyed it so much, they came back today. 

She evacuated for Matthew but chose not to for Irma. 

"We're not supposed to get it," said Milburn. "I have a son in Boca. I have a daughter in Atlanta. They both wanted me to come, especially the girl, my daughter in Atlanta, but it's not going to be bad when it gets here. If it's not any worse than Matthew, and I did evacuate for Matthew, I'm staying. Last time I made the bad mistake of Muggs and I going into the Augusta shelter. I will never do that again."

Chatham County’s mandatory evacuation is still in effect for Zone A, which includes Tybee Island. The mayor says he’s leaving the island this evening and encouraging residents to do the same. The big concerns moving into tomorrow and Monday are flooding, possibly covering Highway 80 and in neighborhoods, and wind knocking down trees and powerlines. 

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