Gov. Kemp tours emergency operations center as state prepares for Ian’s arrival

Georgia is keeping a very close eye on Hurricane Ian and what it could do in places like St. Mary’s, Brunswick and Savannah.

Officials with Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security think Ian will hit the Georgia coast as a tropical storm, not a hurricane.

But they warn that could still mean a storm surge and damage along the Georgia coast.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was with Gov. Brian Kemp as he got a tour of the newly activated State Operations Center on Wednesday.

That’s where he got a briefing from top state officials about the coming storm.

“It’s really going to depend, too, when the storm hits, what the tides look like, how that may affect places like St. Mary’s, or St. Simon’s or perhaps Savannah,” Kemp said.

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State meteorologist Will Lanxton believes Ian won’t be as strong as Hurricane Matthew, which hit the Georgia coast in 2015, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be damage.

“We’re expecting right now 3 to 5 feet of storm surge up the entire Georgia coast that could start as soon as tomorrow and last through maybe Saturday morning. So Thursday and Friday are really going to be those days,” Lanxton said.

Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director Chris Stallings said right now, they’re not planning any mass evacuations off the Georgia coast but are preparing for Florida evacuees coming north.

“We are still monitoring the storm. As you saw overnight, there was a change in its path, so as we talked about yesterday, the storm is ever evolving. We’re not going to take that for granted that we’re out of the woods,” Stallings said.

But where will the tropical storm make landfall again? And where will it go afterward?

If it takes a track like Irma, that would be in northeast Georgia, which saw a lot of tree damage from that storm in 2017.

Matthew hit South Carolina and moved north from there.

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