Hurricane Ian updates: Governor speaks to state storm prep with expected landfall in S.C.
Return to this story for blog updates throughout the week as more information is available
Kemp speaks about storm prep in Savannah
On Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp spoke in Savannah about the state's preparations for Hurricane Ian.
"We just want to remind everyone to be weather aware of that and take precautions now to keep you and your family safe," Kemp said.
For full coverage, visit the Savannah Morning News website.
More: Hurricane Ian: Gov. Brian Kemp gives update on Georgia's preparations for storm
Savannah, Augusta in potential flood range
According to maps from the National Hurricane Center published Wednesday morning, large portions of the Georgia coast as well as areas inland have some risk of flash flooding in the next three days.
The map shows Savannah with a moderate risk of at least 40% chance of flash flooding in the next three days, while Augusta has a slight risk of at least 15%.
Areas of the state all the way to Atlanta have a marginal risk of flash flooding of at least 5%.
Comcast makes wifi available for free
On Wednesday morning, Comcast announced that it is making its public Xfinity wifi hotspots available for anyone to use, even those who are not Xfinity customer, to help people stay connected ahead of Hurricane Ian.
According to a press release, there are 108,000 of these hotspots through Savannah, Augusta, Aiken and other parts of Georgia and South Carolina.
Residents can see a map of these hotspots at Xfinity.com/wifi and select "xfinitywifi" for customer and non-customer options.
Kemp orders state of emergency
About 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Twitter he had issued a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Ian. The order will take effect at 7 a.m. Thursday and lasts for 29 days.
The executive order says that the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency will coordinate the state response, while the Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety will work to let workers restore power. It also calls for 500 National Guard troops to be available to be called up by the state Adjutant General as necessary.
According to the announcement of the state of emergency, a tropical storm warning has been issued for Camden and Glynn counties. A tropical storm watch and possible storm conditions, including flooding, are possible from Wednesday through Saturday.
"Damaging winds will be possible statewide, even well away from the center of the storm, and downed trees and powerlines are possible statewide on Friday and Saturday," the announcement reads. "Widespread rainfall of 2 to 4 inches is also possible statewide, with 4 to 6 inches or more forecast in southeast Georgia. Flash flooding, power outages, and other dangerous situations are possible, especially in southeast Georgia."
NHC updates on Georgia, Carolina impacts
On Tuesday the National Hurricane Center released a livestream video update on Ian.
The hurricane is predicted to hit southeast Georgia on Thursday, and the Carolinas on Friday, according to the livestream by Jamie Rhome, acting NHC director. The southern part of the Georgia coast is under a tropical storm warning, while the rest of the Georgia coast is under a tropical storm watch.
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 27, 2022
"Just because this thing is going to move over the peninsula, certainly don't let your guard down here over the Southeast," Rhome said.
Heavy rains may blanket Georgia and the Carolinas as well, and storm surges may hit the southern Georgia coast.
"These are some pretty significant surge values, for example 4 to 6 feet from the mouth of the St. Mary's river to Altamaha Sound," Rhome said.
Georgia Power preparing for Ian
On Tuesday morning, Georgia Power said it is monitoring Hurricane Ian and preparing ahead of the storm. According to a news release, Georgia Power is adjusting to restore power if it is disconnected. They also asked customers to be aware of safety procedures.
Georgia Power included this advice in the press release for how to prepare for a storm:
Before a Storm: Stay aware and check the weather forecast before heading outdoors. Check your emergency kit, unplug major appliances and charge cell phones in case you lose power.
During a Storm: Take safe shelter inside a sturdy building away from windows and doors. Avoid contact with conductors of electricity – appliances, metal objects and water.
After a Storm: Never touch any downed or low-hanging wire, including telephone or TV wires that touch a power line. Never pull tree limbs off of power lines yourself or enter areas with debris or downed trees as downed power lines may be buried in wreckage.
For updates on power outages and storm safety, residents can also visit Georgia Power's outage and storm center here: https://bit.ly/3r9YMVR.
Kemp waiting on state of emergency
The hurricane could hit south Georgia late Wednesday night or early Thursday, Chris Stallings, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, told the nonprofit news outlet Capitol Beat.
Gov. Brian Kemp said some models also show the storm could become stationary over Georgia, which would turn it into a major rain event.
“We have our whole team on active duty,” Kemp told reporters on Monday. “We’re going to be proactive, planning ahead.”
More: With a possible Cat 4 Hurricane Ian incoming, model split keeps Florida guessing | WeatherTiger
Kemp said it’s too soon to determine whether he will declare a state of emergency in all or part of Georgia, reported Capitol Beat.
“I’ll use every power I’ve got to prepare for the storm and be ready when it hits,” he said.
Ian could become a major Category 4 storm by Tuesday, which means winds of 130 to 156 miles per hour.
– Capitol Beat reporter Dave Williams
State Operations Center activated
On Monday, Georgia Brian Kemp ordered the activation of the State Operations Center ahead of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to make landfall later this week and may hit parts of Georgia.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Ian was upgraded to a hurricane early Monday. NOAA predictions show tropical-storm-force winds will hit southern Georgia as early as Wednesday, but most likely by Thursday evening, while northern Georgia and South Carolina is likely to be hit by winds on Friday.
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 26, 2022
In a news release issued Monday, Kemp said he made the decision to activate the State Operations Center in collaboration with Director Chris Stallings of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and the National Weather Service.
"I urge my fellow Georgians to monitor this storm as it evolves and calmly take the necessary precautions to keep their families and neighbors safe if the storm continues to intensify," Kemp noted in the news release. "Throughout the week, I will work closely with GEMA/HS, the weather service, public safety organizations, and others to ensure we leave nothing to chance."
GEMA also provides information on how to prepare for a hurricane at gema.georgia.gov/hurricanes.
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Hurricane Ian Georgia: Kemp speaks to storm prep ahead of landfall