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Closures, precautions being announced

Updated to reflect new mandatory evacuations for Saturday

POSTED: September 7, 2017 7:19 p.m.
Photo by Lewis Levine/

Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette speaks to a roomful of officials and government employees at an update on Hurricane Irma's approach Thursday morning.

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As Hurricane Irma creeps toward the East Coast, area agencies and offices are taking pre-emptive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees and citizens.

Here are the updates and notices we’ve received so far:

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 30 counties ahead of any potential impacts of Major Hurricane Irma.

The 30 counties under a state of emergency are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne and Ware Counties.

In the release Deal announced that beginning Saturday, a mandatory evacuation order will take effect for Chatham County, all areas east of I-95 and some areas west of I-95 that could be impacted by this catastrophic hurricane and storm surge. 

Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown said there will be no shelters open or available in the county. During a hurricane update Thursday that included all county essential personnel, Brown explained that the county does not open shelters, the American Red Cross does. He noted the Red Cross does not open shelters in coastal communities that may be prone to flooding or storm surge.

Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes said emergency responders and personnel including police officers, EMS, firefighters, utility crews and more are unable to perform and rescue or emergency functions once the area begins to experience Tropical Storm force winds.

Liberty EMA Assistant Director Larry Logan said Liberty County could begin to experience tropical storm force winds as early as Sunday morning.

UPDATE: The Liberty County Board of Commissioners has issued a county-wide mandatory evacuation for all areas of Liberty County effective 8 a.m. Saturday.All residents are asked to monitor www.libertycountyga.com or call 912-368-2201 for further information. 

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Long County has issued a voluntary evacuation starting Sept. 7, at 3 pm for its residents with emphasis on low lying and individuals in trailers. School will be closed for Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. The county will retain essential personnel and are expected to report to work as normal.

The City of Hinesville will close City Hall on Friday, Sept. 8 at noon in anticipation of Hurricane Irma and will not re-open until Tuesday, Sept. 12. All City services will be suspended to include transit and trash pickup. 

Trash services will abide by the following schedule: Trash pickup will resume tomorrow, Monday's pickup will occur on Tuesday, Tuesday's on Wednesday, Wednesday's on Thursday, Thursday's on Friday and Friday's on Friday. 

The City will continue to post 24/7 storm and closure updates on cityofhinesville.org, facebook.com/HinesvilleGA and Twitter @HinesvilleGA.

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Liberty County School System Chief Academic Officer Patti Crane announced that all county public schools classes are cancelled for Friday, Monday and Tuesday.

This cancellation includes all athletic and after-school activities. Staff and students should plan to report back to work on Wednesday, Sept. 13, unless notified otherwise. The latest information will be posted to the Liberty County School System website as well as LCSS social media outlets.

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Due to the possibility of extreme weather conditions associated with Hurricane Irma, the Long County School System will be closed to both staff and students Friday, Sept. 8 through Tuesday, Sept. 12. This cancellation includes all athletic and after school activities.  Staff and students should plan to report back to school on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 unless notified otherwise.  

The latest information will be posted to the Long County School System website.

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First Presbyterian Christian Academy will also close Friday through Tuesday Sept. 12. This cancellation includes all athletic and after school activities.  Staff and students should plan to report back to school on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 unless notified otherwise.

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Liberty County Clerk of Courts Linda Dixon announced that all state court criminal, superior court civil and criminal and all juvenile court proceedings have been cancelled for Sept. 11-14.

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Bradwell Institute's varsity football game against Warren County has been rescheduled to tonight at 6:30 at Olvey Field due to the impending storm. The Liberty County High School varsity football game against Jenkins High in Savannah is still scheduled for tonight at 7.

Due to the impending hurricane and anticipated evacuation of Savannah, Long County High School’s football game against Windsor Forest has been moved up one night. The Blue Tide will play the Knights tonight. The game time was also changed to 7 p.m. The Courier is waiting for confirmation on where the game will be played.

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Armstrong State University's main campus in Savannah and the Armstrong Liberty Center in Hinesville will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, according to ASU media relations. Residence halls will close on Friday at 9 a.m. All residential students must leave campus as a precaution due to the storm. The university will have transportation available to take residential students to a safe location. Classes will be canceled and campus will be closed Friday through Tuesday. All events on campus will be canceled through Tuesday. At this time, it is unclear when classes will resume, residence halls will re-open and normal business operations will commence. University officials will continue to monitor developments with Hurricane Irma and will issue further updates as needed.

The safety of students, faculty and staff is the top priority at Armstrong. Additional information is available at Armstrong.edu/emergency  or by calling Armstrong’s Emergency Hotline at 912-344-2500.

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The following DDS Customer Service Centers will close at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 8th, and will remain closed through Saturday, September 9th. 

Brunswick (Glynn County),Hinesville (Liberty County),Kingsland (Camden County),Rincon (Effingham County),Savannah (Chatham County) and Statesboro (Bulloch County).

DDS remains in close contact with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and any additional center closures or changes to operating hours will be reported via the DDS website here, in addition to its official DDS Facebook page and Twitter account @GeorgiaDDS.

Information on hurricane preparedness can be found at the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency website here.

DDS strongly encourages all Georgia residents, as part of their emergency preparations, to collect, photocopy, photograph, and safeguard the following personal identity documents:

Georgia driver’s license or Georgia identification (ID) card, Birth certificate (original or certified copy), U.S. passport (if applicable), Immigration documents proving lawful status (non-U.S. citizens), Name change documents (such as marriage certificates, divorce decrees, court orders, etc.), Social Security card (original or photocopy and two pieces of mail that show your residential (home) address.

A complete list of documents required to obtain or replace a Georgia driver’s license or Georgia ID card can be found here.

DDS also reminds residents that they may be eligible to replace a lost or destroyed Georgia driver’s license or Georgia ID card online using DDS Online Services

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In light of recent developments with the path of Hurricane Irma, the St. Catherine's Beach Sweep that was scheduled for this Saturday, has been postponed. Sara Swida, executive director of Keep Liberty Beautiful, said the cleanup has tentatively been rescheduled for Oct. 14. KLB is a community education and volunteer action program dedicated to community improvement.

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All YMCA facilities (Effingham YMCA, Golden Isles YMCA, Habersham YMCA, Islands Family YMCA, Liberty County/ Armed Services YMCA, McIntosh County YMCA, Richmond Hill YMCA, Tybee Island YMCA, West Chatham YMCA and Pryme Tyme programs) will be open for normal operating hours on today. However all YMCA youth sports programs will be cancelled today through Tuesday, Sept. 12.

The Liberty County/ Armed Services YMCA will close at noon on Friday, and remain closed through Tuesday, Sept. 12. All group exercise classes, child watch, Mother’s Morning Out, and Super Saturday events are cancelled until Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Pryme Tyme and Georgia Pre-K will be closed for all of the Liberty County Public Schools through Sept. 12. 

The Richmond Hill YMCA will close at noon on Friday, Sept. 8, and remain closed through Tuesday, Sept. 12.  All group exercise classes, child watch, Mother’s Morning Out, Fun Club and Super Saturday events are cancelled until Tuesday, Sept. 12. 

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Howard Family Dental will close their office Friday through Tuesday, Sept. 12. For any dental emergencies, please call the office and follow the voicemail instructions. Their phone is 368-6881.

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Robert Russell, the Chief Judge of Superior Courts of the Atlantic Judicial Circuit signed an order declaring judicial emergency. The order signed Thursday states that due to Hurricane Irma traveling through Georgia and causing the courts to close due to inclement weather which would imperil employees of the courts and members of the public who might be required to travel to court facilities. The duration of the judicial emergency shall be for September 8, 2017, September 1 1, 2017 and September 12, 2017. 

Pursuant to OCGA Section 38-3-62, the undersigned suspends, tolls, extends and otherwise grants relief from all dead lines, time schedules and filing requirements as shown in subsections 1-11 of said code section.

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