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GEMA gives update ahead of Hurricane Ian

Gov. Brian Kemp issued a State of Emergency to go into effect on Thursday.
Credit: AP
This Sept. 26, 2022, satellite image released by NASA shows Hurricane Ian growing stronger as it barreled toward Cuba. Ian was forecast to hit the western tip of Cuba as a major hurricane and then become an even stronger Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph (225 km/h) over warm Gulf of Mexico waters before striking Florida. (NASA Worldview/Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) via AP)

ATLANTA — Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS), gave an update Tuesday in anticipation of Hurricane Ian, as Gov. Brian Kemp issued a State of Emergency across the state. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hurricane Ian is a Category 3 storm and Georgia is at a level 2 elevated activation as Ian approaches Florida's west coast. GEMA said it will continue to monitor the hurricane's path and will elevate the Peach State to a level 3 activation Wednesday at 7 a.m. 

GEMA said it will continue to communicate with state, local, city and county partners, as well as being in constant communication with the governor's office. 

Gov. Kemp's State of Emergency Order ensures the state can activate its resources if needed for a safe and quick recovery. The order will go into effect on Thursday, Sept. 29. 

"As you noticed over the last 12 to 24 hours, the storm continues to make an easterly track, all that tells us is this storm is changing rapidly," a spokesperson for GEMA said in a press conference. "With that, we continue to prep our coastal partners." 

Georgia's coastal counties are anticipating flooding and even some flash flooding is possible, according to GEMA. 

RELATED: Live updates | Gov. Kemp to issue State of Emergency in preparation for Hurricane Ian

GEMA said it's expecting between 4 to 6 inches of rain, with some isolated areas around 8 inches along the coast. 

"A bigger concern is going to be some of the storm surge, a storm surge watch has been issued for the entire Georgia coast, a tropical storm warning has been issued for Camden and Glynn counties, a tropical storm watch has been issued for the remainder of the Georgia coast," a spokesperson for GEMA said. "Tropical storm conditions will be possible on the entire coastline. One of the dangers there is the rip currents that will be coming along with that, as well as the  erosion at the beach." 

Additionally, 3 to 5 feet of storm surge is estimated to go above ground and will cause some flooding along the coast, GEMA said. 

All of Georgia's 159 counties are under the State of Emergency Order due to wind concerns, GEMA said. Winds are expected to be strong across the state, with GEMA anticipating trees falling and power outages.

GEMA added it's also in constant communication with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and there are disaster units already in position in Atlanta and other parts of Georgia. 

Tips to prepare

As GEMA continues the monitor Hurricane Ian's approach, the agency has provided some tips for how Georgians can prepare: 

  • Residents in vulnerable housing situations in low-lying areas and high-flood risk areas are asked to consider a temporary relocation to higher grounds. 
  • All those in the south and coastal Georgia counties are asked to continue to pay attention to local officials and review your emergency plan. 
  • GEMA is encouraging you to continue to prepare readiness kits and be prepared for roughly 72 hours. 
  • Review your communication plan with your family. Make sure you have a way to give them current information whether it's via the internet, cellphone, radio, etc. 
  • Make sure you are paying attention to local guidance. 

For more information and readiness tips from GEMA, click here. For the latest forecast and track model for Hurricane Ian, click here

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