ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal has increased the number of counties under a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma.
Late Friday afternoon, Deal placed an additional 64 counties under the state of emergency, bringing the total to 94.
Deal added the counties following a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. Current forecasts project the storm moving west, which could increase its impact on the state.
The additional counties include: Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brooks, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Harris, Houston, Irwin, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, Meriwether, Miller, Mitchell, Monroe, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pike, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Troup, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Washington, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth Counties.
“This is considered an extremely dangerous, category 4 hurricane, with winds of more than 150 miles per hour,” Deal said. “We all remember the tremendous levels of destruction from Hurricane Matthew, and this one has the potential to be even more devastating to our state.”
In a Friday morning press briefing, Deal said Hurricane Irma could be more devastating to Georgia than last year's Hurricane Matthew.
Mandatory evacuations for coastal areas east of I-95 and all of Chatham County remain in place and contraflow on I-16 will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Also on Friday, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Georgia.
© 2017 WXIA-TV