Gov. Deal declares State of Emergency, agencies prepare for storm

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has declared a ‘State of Emergency’ for 92 of Georgia’s 152 counties and agencies like the Department of Transportation and Georgia Power are already beginning to prepare for Hurricane Micheal.

According to the Office of the Governor, “the state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael.” Additionally Gov. Deal remarked that he is actively working with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states.

Natalie Dale of the GDOT tells WRBN/WGHC News that “Hurricane Micheal is a unique path and although typically only coastal Georgia counties are affected from previous storms, this storm is completely different in velocity.”

“What we’re looking at with the strength of this system expected to move across the southern panhandle and into Georgia, is really a high wind storm situation. Some of those hurricane strength winds are going to reach well into Georgia,” Dale said.

Dale said that response teams are being organized from Rabun County’s District One DOT personal along with 21 other counties within the Northeast district. The teams will be sent South to aid in the response efforts according to Deal.

“So what we’re doing at GDOT, we are preparing our northern crews. Northeast and Northwest districts are getting together and sending down strategic teams to our southern counties to assist in the response effort,” she said.

Dale also said to keep in mind that many evacuees will be traveling northbound into Georgia away from Flordia which will increase traffic and congestion on the highways. If at all possible, Dale said to keep off the highways and try to choose a secondary route for traveling.

Meredith Stone from Georgia Power said they will be taking a different approach and instead of focusing all of their crew members in a central location close to the storm, they will wait until Hurricane Micheal arrives and see where it impacts and then send troops to specific locations.

“One thing that we look at when we’re trying to watch these storms come in is their arrival. What we don’t want to do is send our troops too close to where the impacted area is supposed to be,” Stone said. “Once we can see that Micheal is starting to make its way, we can then mobilize our crews and bring them closer to where the impact is supposed to be.”

Stone said damage assessment teams will be scattered throughout the state to evaluate the number of crews that will be needed to restore power in certain areas.

“Once it is safe for our crews to get to work, what will happen is you’ll probably see a damage assessment team come through your neighborhood,” she said. “We focus on the areas where we can get the most power on as quickly and as effectively as possible.”

“We know that people are going to want to go out and asses the damage in their communities but that can be very dangerous because there could be live wires down hiding underneath a tree or a fence,” Stone said.