ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday added another 16 counties to his State of Emergency declaration Wednesday ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Michael.
As the storm approached the Florida Gulf Coast and forecasters warned of "potentially catastrophic" damage and life-threatening conditions as the storm moves inland from Florida and into portions of south and central Georgia on Wednesday and into Thursday.
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As of early Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Michael was packing maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and was classified as a Category 4 hurricane. Downed trees and power lines were expected over many areas of the state as high winds and torrential rains continue to spread northward over the state.
"We are hopeful that by the time it reaches the Georgia boundaries it will have died down somewhat," Deal said. "However, we know there will still be a considerable amount of damage from wind and flooding associated with the rain."
Sixteen counties -- Lamar, Clarke, Monroe, Oglethorpe, Butts, Elbert, Jasper, Wilkes, Morgan, Lincoln, Putnam, Columbia, Greene, McDuffie, Oconee and Taliaferro -- have been added to the original 92 counties named on Tuesday: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, McIntosh, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth counties.
All state resources will be made available to local governments and entities in the impacted regions.
TIMELINE | How will Hurricane Michael affect Georgia
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael,” said Deal. “In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant. We will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael’s path and GEMA/HS is leading our preparedness efforts. We are also working with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Michael.”
The governor said more than 2,300 personnel were dedicated to the overall operation across the state.
He said 1,500 National Guardsmen were standing by.
Fifteen local counties have declared disaster areas on their own as a result of the storm. Crews and resources associated with the Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia State Patrol and Department of Corrections for debris removal, air operations and other resources are up and operational.
Weigh stations along Georgia's highways are closed statewide. Stations can be accessed by vehicles but they are not active.
Swift water boats are staged for rescue response and DNR boats are ready for deployments across the state.
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