Hurricane & Tropical Storm Warnings issued for Southwest Georgia
Major Hurricane Irma continues northwest away from the Northern Coast of Cuba as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
Irma is a large hurricane and will produce far-reaching effects regardless of where the exact center of the storm moves.
As of 5 p.m., Irma is 540 miles south-southeast of Tallahassee, 680 miles south-southeast of Columbus and 750 miles south-southeast of Atlanta. As Category 3 hurricane, Irma has 125 mph winds, and is moving WNW at 9 mph.
The latest forecast track takes Irma northward over the far western part of the Florida Peninsula and into Southwest Georgia as a Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings are now in effect for most of Southwest Georgia.
Irma is expected to have a significant impact across a large portion of the Florida big bend and southern Georgia with widespread wind damage to numerous trees and power lines. Widespread and extended power outages are expected. Winds of at least 40 MPH may begin as early as Sunday evening, but the worst conditions will be on Monday with wind gusts well above hurricane force possible. Such winds can bring down large tree limbs, trees, and power lines, leading to power outages and impassable roads. The strongest winds are likely to be east of the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers. Conditions will gradually improve Monday night as a weakening tropical storm Irma moves northward into central Georgia.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for: Atkinson, Berrien, Brooks, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Grady, Sumter, Baker, Ben Hill, Calhoun, Calhoun, Clay, Coffee, Decatur, Early, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Mitchell, Randolph, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, and Worth counties until further notice. A Tropical Storm Warning means Tropical storm wind conditions are expected somewhere within this area and within the next 36 hours.
WIND THREAT: 45-60 mph sustained winds with gusts to 75-80 mph are expected for cities and counties west of the Flint River. 55-80 mph sustained winds are expected across central and eastern South Georgia with gusts to 90-100 mph wind gusts. The window for Tropical Storm and Hurricane force winds will be early Monday morning until early Tuesday morning.
- Emergency plans should include a reasonable threat for hurricane force wind of 74 to 110 mph of equivalent Category 1 to 2 intensity.
- To be safe, aggressively prepare for the potential of extensive wind impacts. Remaining efforts to secure properties should now be brought to completion.
- Dangerous and life-threatening wind is possible. Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury or loss of life. Move to safe shelter before the wind becomes hazardous.
- Major damage to frame built homes, with some experiencing partial roof or wall collapse. Numerous windows and garage doors will fail, leading to additional structural damage.
- Mobile homes significantly damaged, with many destroyed.
- Damage increased by large projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for days to weeks.
- Numerous large trees snapped or uprooted with roadway signs blown over.
- Some primary and many secondary roads are impassible due to debris.
- Significant power and communication outages; potentially lasting for weeks
RAINFALL: Peak Rainfall Amounts: 4-8 inches, with locally higher amounts. Flash Flood Watch is in effect. Flooding could be a major concern in most urbanized areas, as well as near creeks, streams, rivers and other flood-prone areas.
TORNADO THREAT: The situation is somewhat favorable for tornadoes. Isolated tornadoes are expected across South Georgia, mainly in central and south-eastern parts of South Georgia.
- A few structures will be damaged by tornadoes, mainly with loss of shingles or siding. Some mobile homes will be significantly damaged, especially those unanchored. Large trees will be snapped or uprooted.
- Isolated areas affected by tornadoes will experience minor damage, including some damage to structures and sporadic power and communication outages.
Given the potential for significant impacts from Irma, residents of South Georgia are urged to complete all preparations for the storm by Saturday evening.
A flash flood watch has been issued for Atkinson, Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Clay, Colquitt, Coffee, Cook, Clinch, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner and Worth counties until 8 p.m Monday.
A flash flood warning has been issued for Brooks and Lowndes counties until further notice.