For those who might be new or have forgotten the struggles of 2016 and 2017, Gov. Brian Kemp laid it out Monday afternoon.
“Given the risk of strong winds and potential for flooding in these areas, if you decide not to evacuate, I want to be clear — you will be on your own if first responders are unable to reach you,” Kemp said at the Glynn County Emergency Operations Center. “We certainly have the threat of that, especially with flooding on … causeways and other roadways. Please, don’t take this risk if you are able to evacuate.”
The governor, Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Homer Bryson and state Insurance Commissioner John King arrived in Brunswick to provide an overview of coordination between state, local and federal officials ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, which at that moment continued to churn through Grand Bahama Island.
Effects from the storm are predicted to start Tuesday evening.
“It’s also going to bring a really tough storm surge force down here,” Kemp said. “I know right now we’re experiencing high tides because of the moon phase that we’re in — we’re predicting 3-6 feet of storm surge along the coast, and heavy rainfall of 4-6 inches, which may cause flash flooding.”
Over Kemp’s right shoulder hung one of four massive wall-mounted display screens, this one showing a color-coded map of water and sewer system facilities and their functionality. The coordination between local officials, Georgia Power staff and electrical workers brought in to help has been key in the past to getting these basics of society operating again so those who do evacuate can return home to functioning utilities.
For people who are evacuating, Kemp said state officials are “working with the Red Cross to open shelters for evacuees in McDuffie, Laurens, Bibb, Coffee and Ware counties today. The information on shelter locations and opening times, in addition to our available hotel accommodations, can be found at gema.ga.gov.”
He noted that agencies also have staff on standby and ready for post-storm response.
“Even with all this preparation, we still cannot stress enough that Hurricane Dorian remains a significant threat to our state,” Kemp said. “We strongly urge all residents to stay vigilant and track its path and continue to evaluate the potential impact on themselves and their families.”
Bryson, also noting the coordination between different levels of government, reiterated that the federal declaration of a state of emergency Sunday evening freed up the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist in proactive, protective measures.
“We’ve worked multiple times a day on communicating with coastal counties to ensure we’re in lockstep with what your needs are and what we can do to assist those needs and ensure that we’re messaging to our citizens of the seriousness of this storm and what action they need to take,” Bryson said.
Focusing on the recovery effort to come, King said resources are ready to deploy, even though the extent of need is not yet known.
“We’re rallying not only industry, insurance companies, but as soon as routes are open, we can start bringing teams in to help assist people getting back on their feet,” King said. “This is an incredibly resilient community. I’ve been coming down here in one way or another for over 20 years, and so I know the grit you all bring to this, and we all stand with you.”