ATLANTA -- Just as governors in North Carolina and Florida have done, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, on Tuesday afternoon, issued an executive order placing 13 downstate and coastal counties under a State of Emergency ahead of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Matthew.
The State of Emergency is in effect for Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Evans, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Wayne counties, beginning Wednesday, and running through next Wednesday, October 12.
The order directs the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) to activate the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan. GEMA has opened its operations center in Atlanta.
GEMA Director Jim Butterworth is urging those who live along the coast to get prepared and be ready.
"Right now the storm itself is the size of Arizona," said Jim Butterworth, GEMA Director.
It looks like Hurricane Matthew will pass near the coast of Georgia.
With the storm so close that is why Gov. Deal issued the state of emergency for those 13 counties.
"Folks think that it can't happen here and the reality is, it can, and it might," said Butterworth.
South Carolina is already telling more than a million of its coastal residents to evacuate.
Georgia is yet to issue an evacuation orders, but GEMA is keeping a close eye on the storms path realizing it can change at any moment.
All hands are on deck at the operations center.
"We have to keep taxpayer costs in mind but we also have to respond to our core mission of saving lives and also protecting property," said Butterworth.
(© 2016 WXIA)