Georgia Governor Nathan Deal expanded the  State Of Emergency (SOE)  announcement to include 159  Georgia counties to the previously announced number of 24. The SOE, which became effective on Sept. 7, 2017 and had initially covered 6 counties, includes Chatham county.

“I've expanded the state of emergency to include all 159 counties in GA,” says Governor Deal in a tweet.

After battering Florida with blistering wind of 130 mph, it turned out that Georgia was the next state to face the wrath of Hurricane Irma.  According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Irma, now categorized as a Tropical Storm, could bring up to 20 inches in the southeast part of Georgia. As a result, residents were warned  to expect up to 6 hours of uninterrupted hurricane-strong winds until mid-Monday.

When bracing for a storm, there are certain things you can do to prevent the situation from getting worse. You should be Well-Informed and Well-Equipped. Above all, you should always Keep A Positive Spirit within.

Image source: Marlene (@SeptembersSong9) | Twitter

Be Well-Informed

  • What is happening?

IRMA'S CURRENT STATS

Status:             Tropical Storm

Position:          29.5° N, -82.9° W

Winds:             70 mph

Gusts:               80 mph

Movement:     NNW 18 mph

Pressure:         28.64 in / 969 mb

*Source: Accuweather.com

"A Tropical Storm is an intense storm  that is characterized by swirling wind rotation and extremely low pressure which usually develops in the tropics. Although it is less powerful than hurricanes, tropical storms can still be as destructive and may cause injury, property damage and even casualty." (Source: Wisegeek.org)

  • Who to call?

It’s always important to keep emergency numbers within reach in order to know where and how you can seek help when needed.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Phone: +1 912-651-6675

Emergency Operations Center

Phone: +1 912-201-4500

Georgia Department of Public Safety

Phone: +1 404-624-7700

  • Where to go?

There’s an increasing number of Red Cross shelters that are open in central and northeast Georgia for affected residents who are seeking for a place to stay. There are even shelters that are now open to accept pets while some churches in certain communities had opened since Saturday to offer help and support to affected Georgians.

Here are some shelters where residents can seek temporary refuge from the storm:

1. The Cherokee Outdoor YMCA at 201 E. Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock (call 212-641-0023)

2. Action Church at 271 Marietta Road in Canton (call Mike Atchison at 678-249-4193)

3. Atlanta Motor Speedway in Henry County

Residents from the coastal region have tried to seek refuge at Atlanta hotels. Interstate 16 was filled with vehicles that were fleeing from the sea on Friday and early Saturday.  

For an extensive list of emergency shelters, please visit Heavy.com.

You can also click this link (http://arcg.is/2y0JIgL) to see an interactive map of available shelters.

Be Well-Equipped

Preparing a survival kit can definitely be your greatest weapon against any natural calamity. Here are some of the things you need to secure yourself in times of emergency:

1. Drinking water

2. Flashlight with extra batteries

3. Cell phone with chargers

4. Cash

5. First aid kit

6. Local map

7. Emergency hotline numbers

8. Contact numbers of your loved ones

9. Important IDs and family documents

Keep A Positive Spirit

Life has storms such as real storms like Charley, Harvey and Irma. Other storms can also be in the form of drug addictions, hunger, death, cancer, and more. Though storms can be really big and destructive, note that all of them are temporary and are bound to leave. Learn not to dwell on the storm itself. Instead, wait for it to pass and see a rainbow behind the clouds. We may find ourselves losing some of the things and people we love but one thing that we should never lose or give up is the feeling of HOPE.

Never lose hope and always believe that everything is just temporary, even a storm as strong as Irma.