State officials continue to prepare for Hurricane Matthew as it continues on a path towards the Georgia coastline.
Georgia Emergency Management Agency director Jim Butterworth says 9,000 people are in shelters with over 26 of them have activated.
According to the Associated Press, over 3,000 people have evacuated from Tybee Island but others decided to stay put. They also reported that 1,500 inmates from Georgia facilities in coastal counties were moved to jails located more inland.
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Butterworth also warned home owners not to go back to early. He noted that both the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah and Sidney Lanier Bridge near the Golden Isles will have to be inspected before they driveable. They'll be reopening I-16 for crews only in the morning with the DOT ready with 800 workers.
Several hospitals and nursing homes have been closed. 30 doctors and 60 nurses are donating their time. 280 Georgia State Troopers are in the area being supplemented by the National Guard of which there are 1,000. All camp sites are full with over 6,500 in State Parks. 175 rangers lie in wait to be activated.
President Obama declared a federal emergency and over half a million were affected by it.
On Thursday, Governor Nathan Deal clarified the mandatory evacuation from six Georgia counties was really voluntary. All Georgia residents east if I-95 are under the evacuation notice.
"The mandatory evacuation designation is significant. It is the highest warning we can give to people," Deal said during a press conference Thursday at the Capitol.
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