The health and safety of our visitors is the highest priority for the entire Georgia tourism industry. We are doing everything possible to support our impacted guests and citizens to ensure they are safe during this significant weather event. We are closely tracking information shared by the Georgia Weather Center and Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency to inform and educate visitors about Hurricane Irma.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Hurricane Irma will possibly impact parts of Florida later this week. Destructive winds, storm surge, dangerous surf, heavy rainfall and flash flooding are possible. This powerful storm is expected to produce excessive rainfall, life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds, resulting in extensive flooding, fallen trees, widespread power outages and road closures.
Following a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) officials and local Emergency Management Agencies, Gov. Nathan Deal is expanding his emergency declaration to include 24 additional counties, with a total of 30 counties now included in a state of emergency. Deal also issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas east of I-95, all of Chatham County and some areas west of I-95 that could be impacted by potential storm surge from Hurricane Irma. The executive order also authorized up to 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on state active duty to support Hurricane Irma response and recovery. The 30 counties under a state of emergency are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne and Ware Counties.
The state of emergency prohibits price gouging for all goods and services related to the storm. Read the executive order here.
A mandatory evacuation as of Saturday morning for Chatham County (Savannah, Tybee Island) and all coastal areas east of I-95 (which includes Richmond Hill, Golden Isles, Brunswick, Sapelo Island, Darien, St. Marys).
For more information on Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA) preparedness efforts and storm updates, visit www.gema.ga.gov.
The Georgia Visitor Information Centers that are able to remain open can advise of hotel availability for visitors seeking safe lodging. Visit ExploreGeorgia.org for lodging information.
We encourage visitors to head to the north Georgia mountain area and away from major Interstates. Lodging is quickly becoming extremely limited across the state, including areas south of Atlanta.
Contraflow Information in South Georgia
1. Barricade is in place on I-16 EB at SR 26 in Laurens to allow evacuation traffic to use all four lanes in a WB direction.
2. A median crossover on I-16 east of I-95 crosses traffic over onto I-16 EB lanes to travel WB. A cross-over on I-16 at SR 26 (MP 38) in Laurens County directs traffic back to regular WB prior to arrival in Macon.
3. All EB access at interchanges are blocked from Dublin to Savannah.
4. Travelers may access contraflow lanes (traveling WB on regularly EB lanes) at designated interchanges at:
Exit 143 at SR 30 - US 280 - G.O. Bacon Hwy.
Exit 116 at SR 73 - US 301 - US 25
Exit 104 at SR 23 - SR 121
Exit 90 at SR 4 - US 1
Exit 71 at SR 15 - SR 78
Exit 67 at SR 29 - Hugh M. Gillis Sr. Hwy
Exit 51 at SR 31 - US 319 - US 441
All other exits are closed within the contraflow section.
5. All WB exits will be open.