Local EMA cautions residents about potential for major storm

·3 min read

Sep. 23—Hermine may make a second visit to the Golden Isles.

It's the next hurricane name on the list for the 2022 season and could be assigned to the beginnings of a tropical storm currently traveling just over a dozen miles per hour north toward Cuba.

Another tropical storm named Hermine hit Coastal Georgia in September 2016, damaging homes and downing tree limbs and power lines across Glynn County and Brunswick.

As of Friday morning, however, the storm forming in the Caribbean Sea was still called just Tropical Depression Nine.

While the storm's threat to the Brunswick area is still uncertain, Glynn County Emergency Management Director Andrew Leanza urges Golden Isles residents to go ahead and begin making preliminary plans for evacuation, although the EMA currently has no plans to call for an evacuation at this time.

"The track is so uncertain at this point, you wake up and it's completely shifted," Leanza said.

One prediction took it through the Gulf of Mexico and hitting Louisiana, while another shows it hitting north Florida, he said. State and local emergency management agencies are already gearing up to coordinate any response efforts, he said, and will hold a high-level meeting this afternoon on the subject and to discuss heavy monitoring of the storm through the weekend.

The News will cover updates to the storm's track through the weekend.

Visit ready.gov/kit for resources for creating a disaster supplies kit and glynncounty.org/ema to sign up for the Code Red emergency alert system and to find preparedness information and updates on the storm specific to the Golden Isles.

Per the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an evacuation kit should, at minimum, include one gallon of water a day for each person for several days, several days of nonperishable food, a battery-powered or hand crank radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, whistle, dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape to secure shelters, moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties, a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, a manual can opener and local maps.

All items should be stored in airtight plastic containers.

It's a little early in the game to make any firm predictions for the Coastal Georgia, according to the National Weather Service's Jacksonville office. Multiple variables are at play in predictions from the National Hurricane Center, and they tend to diverge around Cuba and Jamaica, but should coalesce over the weekend into a clearer track.

"People should prepare for something like this now. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst," said Rob Niemeyer, a hydrometeorologist with the weather service.

AccuWeather meteorologists see the storm becoming a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea and could reach the level of Category 3 hurricane or stronger if it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.

A Category 3 hurricane, on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale used by the National Hurricane Center, has sustained winds from 111 to 129 mph.

At Category 3, "Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends," according to the NHC. "Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes."