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Georgia governor declares state of emergency for all 159 counties ahead of Hurricane Florence

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in Georgia ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Based on the 11 a.m. forecast for Hurricane Florence on Sept, 12 and acting on a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) officials, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in Georgia.

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence,” said Deal. “In light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas. GEMA/HS continues to lead our preparedness efforts as we coordinate with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. Finally, I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence.”

Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is currently in a Level 2 enhanced monitoring operation, officials told 11Alive. The state operations center will adopt a Level 1 full-scale activation at 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

"All residents are urged to prepare a ready kit with necessary supplies and closely follow information from local officials and news sources," said Catherine Howden from GEMA.

TIMELINE | Florence now looks to menace parts of Georgia; When will we see its effects?

Wind speeds of dangerous Hurricane Florence decreased slightly Wednesday afternoon to 120 mph according to the 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. Florence is a powerful category 3 hurricane and is moving steadily toward the Carolina coastal areas.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlanta Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina on Thursday or Friday, and move slowly near the coastline through Saturday.

While Florence is expected to weaken by Thursday, it is still forecasted to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the U.S. coast on Friday.

READ | Florence remains a major hurricane | Georgia now under state of emergency

RELATED | Atlanta Motor Speedway opens campground to Hurricane Florence evacuees

PHOTOS: Coastal cities brace for Hurricane Florence

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