Kemp declares state of emergency with Idalia bearing down on Georgia

Published 1:40 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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Staff Reports

ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Tuesday for all of Georgia in anticipation of Wednesday’s arrival of Hurricane Idalia.

The storm system is expected to make landfall along Florida’s Big Bend area Wednesday morning as a Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane, then move through Georgia Wednesday afternoon and evening as a Category 1 hurricane.

The track forecast has shifted slightly west since Monday night, with the brunt of the storm’s impact in Georgia expected in the south-central and southeastern portions of the state.

As a result, a hurricane warning has been posted in Brooks, Lowndes, Lanier, Echols, Clinch, Ware, and Charlton counties. A hurricane watch is in effect in Pierce and Brantley counties. Much of the rest of Southeast and South-Central Georgia is under a tropical storm warning.

“We are taking every precaution ahead of Hurricane Idalia’s landfall tomorrow, and I am taking this additional executive action to ensure state assets are ready to respond,” Kemp said Tuesday. “Georgians in the expected impact area can and should take necessary steps to ensure their safety and that of their families. We are well positioned to respond to whatever Idalia may bring.”

Areas of Georgia under a hurricane warning could see winds of up to 80 miles per hour, with winds of up to 50 miles per hour likely in other areas affected by the storm. Falling trees and powerlines could cause widespread power outages and threats to safety in and around areas where a hurricane warning has been posted.

Rainfall amounts of four to six inches will be common across Southeastern Georgia, with some areas receiving up to eight inches. Because the storm is expected to move through the state quickly and due to recent below-average rainfall, widespread flash flooding is not likely, although isolated flash flooding is possible.

There is also the risk of a few tornadoes in Southeast Georgia on Wednesday, while storm surges of two to three feet are possible along the Georgia coast.

Kemp activated the State Operations Center on Monday, ensuring all relevant local, state, and federal agencies are closely coordinating on storm preparations and response. The state of emergency is due to expire on Sept. 8 at 11:59 p.m.