Local officials are monitoring Hurricane Irma and urging residents to take steps now to prepare.
“Now is a good time to make sure your outside things are secured and check to see if you have any hanging limbs, dead limbs, debris of any kind that needs to be taken care of. Get your supplies and let's get ready,” reads a 10 a.m. post from the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page.
Irma is currently tracking west as a Category 5 hurricane and is expected to impact Puerto Rico sometime Wednesday afternoon. The National Hurricane Center predicts it will hit the Miami area early Sunday morning, but after that models show a number of different paths the storm could take, depending on circumstances.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for the entire state ahead of Irma’s landfall there. Once it reaches south Florida, the hurricane could turn and travel up the east coast, or it could continue into the Gulf of Mexico.
Although not a result of concerns about Irma, some Fort Stewart gas stations have been impacted by shortages caused by Hurricane Harvey. As of this morning, some stations only had unleaded gas available. According to the Fort Stewart/Hunter AAF Facebook page, "We have just received a delivery of unleaded at the 24-hour Marne shoppette. Additionally, we are still expecting the delivery from Chicago today of regular. The Hunter Corner Express has also received a delivery this morning."
The National Weather Service recommends taking several steps well ahead of time, including reviewing the season’s forecast, understanding evacuation routes and assembling a disaster kit.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says such a kit should include enough non-perishable food, water and medicine for each person in the family to last one week. You should also include in the kit extra cash (ATM and credit card machines won’t work if the power is out), a battery-powered radio and flashlights. A portable crank or solar powered USB charger can help keep cell phones and laptops functioning.
You can also check with your insurance agent to make sure your property is fully covered. Even if you don’t live in an area that requires flood insurance, you can still purchase a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. Those policies, however, require a 30-day waiting period before they become effective, meaning it is too late now to purchase one for Hurricane Irma.
If you decide to stay and ride out the storm, make sure you have the appropriate materials cut to size to board up windows and doors. And if there is a mandatory evacuation and you still choose to stay, be prepared to go it alone as emergency services personnel will not respond to calls during that time.
Liberty County Emergency Management Agency website: http://www.libertycountyflem.com/, Facebook page: Search “Liberty County Emergency Management”
Long County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page: Search “Long County Code Enforcement/Long County Emergency Management”
Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield Facebook page: Search FortStewartHunterArmyAirfield
Ready.Georgia website: http://ready.ga.gov/
National Weather Service: http://www.weather.gov/