Liberty County Emergency Management Agency continues to receive updates from the National Weather Service in Charleston concerning Hurricane Michael. Michael upgraded to a hurricane Oct. 8, and forecasters are predicting a rapid strengthening to a Category 3 by Wednesday before making landfall on the Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle. Local impacts are predicted to arrive as early as Wednesday morning.
The current track has it making landfall on the Gulf Coast, threatening nearly 300 miles. Rapid weakening will follow once it makes land, and it will be a tropical storm as it moves over southeast Georgia and the southern parts of South Carolina, the forecaster said.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 92 counties ahead of the storm, advancing necessary resources to prepare, according to a press release.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael,” Deal said. “In light of the storm’s forecasted track, I encourage Georgians in the affected counties to be prepared and remain vigilant.”
According to the NWS, the earliest expected arrival time for tropical storm force winds is Wednesday morning. Local impacts include: possible tornadoes, tropical storm-force winds, and potentially 4-6 inches of rain or more.
Deputy Director of Liberty County EMA Larry Logan said they have reached out to Georgia EMA and other local areas like Chatham County to collaborate so that any decision made is in conjunction with state and local partners.
“We have a plan of attack,” Logan said. “There’s no evacuation, there’s no major operation going on, but there will be those working at the EMA office, and those on standby. We’re looking at wind, rain, possible flooding in some areas, and it may require some extra work.”
If the storm continues at its current pace, Logan said, there won’t be much concern about flooding. However, if it were to stall and put down a lot of water in the area, Liberty County could see some flooding.
“Four inches won’t devastate us,” Logan continued. “It could cause flooding in some areas, but it won’t be like the devastation we see in the Carolinas. We have to be alert and watch the storm.”
Liberty EMA plans to work with local agencies—Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Liberty County EMS, local power companies—to supplement and increase preparedness, Logan said. Fort Stewart is taking precautions ahead of the storm, he added, by putting aircrafts into hangars, and cancelling outdoor activities during the storm’s potential arrival timeframe.
“We are recommending that all outdoor activities be cancelled Wednesday morning into Thursday night,” Logan said. “We have the information and will be reaching out Liberty County School System, Liberty County Recreation Center, and others to provide that information.”
Residents can call 912-368-2202 until 5 p.m. Tuesday and beginning again at 6 a.m. Wednesday with questions concerning the storm. Follow LCEMA on Facebook for up-to-date information concerning Hurricane Michael.