All lanes will be turned westbound from Savannah to U.S. 411 in Dublin starting at 8 a.m.

Tropical storm warnings issued for Georgia coast ahead of Hurricane Dorian

6 a.m. Tuesday update: The first tropical storm warnings have been issued for the Georgia coast ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s predicted arrival Wednesday.

Tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 36 hours for areas south of Altamaha Sound, which includes Georgia’s Golden Isles, according to the National Hurricane Center. A storm surge warning is in effect from Tybee Island to the Florida line.

>> RELATED: Complete coverage with latest news on Hurricane Dorian

As Dorian approaches the eastern coast of Florida and begins its trek north, storm surge of 3 to 6 feet is possible, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said.

“The beach is really going to get chewed up as Dorian passes just off to the east of our coast,” he said. 


 

11 p.m. update: Hurricane Dorian continued to pack a wallop as it remained basically stationary in the Bahamas, where at least five people have been reported killed.

The National Hurricane Center reported at 11 p.m. that the Category 4 storm had sustained winds of 130 mph with gusts up to 160 mph. 

8 p.m. update: Hurricane Dorian remained a powerful storm even as its progress slowed and its winds gradually diminished Monday.

The National Hurricane Center reported at 8 p.m. that the Category 4 storm had sustained winds of 140 mph. The storm gradually diminished over the course of the day – earlier, Dorian blew with sustained winds of 165 mph – but remained dangerous.

For much of Monday the storm traveled at just 1 mph, stalling completely late in the day north of Grand Bahama Island. But Dorian is expected to reach Florida late Tuesday, then “move dangerously close to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday,” the hurricane center said.

A hurricane watch has been extended to the entire Georgia coast. The region is bracing for 4 to 8 inches of rain this week, with 10 inches in isolated areas.

7:15 p.m. update: Hurricane Dorian crept toward the Florida coast Monday while residents of coastal Georgia prepared for the storm’s arrival as soon as Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center said the category storm essentially stalled over the Bahamas Monday afternoon. But with sustained winds approaching 145 mph, Dorian still packed a wallop.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued a mandatory evacuation order for roughly 400,000 residents east of I-95 in six Georgia counties. The governor urged residents to heed the warning, and he said those that don’t may be placing their lives at risk.

“We cannot stress enough that Hurricane Dorian remains a significant threat to Georgia,” Kemp said at a press conference in Savannah Monday.

Liberty County Emergency Management Director Larry Logan said some residents have evacuated, but many are watching to see what the storm does.

Logan said that would be a mistake. With mandatory evacuation orders stretching from South Carolina to Florida, he said the longer people wait to evacuate, the more likely they’re going to be stuck in traffic.

Liberty County also helping residents protect their property by providing sand and bags – and plenty of people are taking advantage.

“We just went through about 8,000 bags today,” Logan said. “People came in droves, and they filled sandbags, and we’re completely out.”

Logan said the county is seeking more bags.

The storm has gradually lost steam as it crawled across the Bahamas. But Channel 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said Dorian remains dangerous.

“It’s weakened a little bit,” Monahan said, “but it’s still a major hurricane.”

As the storm crept toward the coast, President Trump signed an emergency declaration for Georgia. That ensures federal emergency aid is available to respond to any areas affected by Dorian.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency is opening shelters is six counties: Bibb, Columbia, Coffee, Laurens, McDuffie and Ware. State parks are opening to evacuees. And the Atlanta Motor Speedway also is opening its camping facilities to those fleeing the hurricane.

To aid the evacuation, all lanes on I-16 will flow westbound beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry urged residents to plan their evacuation route.

“This is about safety, not speed,” McMurry said Monday morning. “We ask that everyone plan ahead, pre-select your evacuation route using 511, carry needed supplies and exercise patience and discretion. We’re all in this together.”

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Georgia coast. The National Hurricane Center said the storm would “move dangerously close to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday.”

Coastal Georgia is bracing for 4 to 8 inches of rain this week, with 10 inches in isolated areas.

“If the storm stays offshore as expected the impacts along the Georgia coast will be tropical storm force winds, very heavy rain and coastal flooding,” said Channel 2 Action News Meteorologist Brad Nitz.

Nitz said a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet - combined with large waves - will mean significant beach erosion.

But metro Atlanta may hardly notice the storm. 

“You may notice a few more clouds, especially east of Atlanta,” Monahan said. “It’s going to get a little breezy, but that’s about it. No rain.”

3 p.m. update: Hurricane Dorian continues to inch its way toward Florida, while residents of coastal Georgia prepared for the storm’s arrival as soon as Wednesday.

This afternoon the National Hurricane Center reported the category 4 storm with sustained winds as high as 150 mph continued to batter Grand Bahama Island. It’s expected to approach the Florida coast tonight, them move “dangerously close to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday,” the hurricane center said.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s mandatory evacuation order – affecting those who live east of I-95 in six Georgia counties – took effect at noon today.

Coastal residents spent Monday morning preparing for the storm. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency is opening shelters is six counties: Bibb, Columbia, Coffee, Laurens, McDuffie and Ware. The Atlanta Motor Speedway is opening its camping facilities to evacuees. You can find more information on the shelters here.

12:45 update: Gov. Brian Kemp urged some coastal Georgia residents to heed calls to evacuate as Hurricane Dorian approaches.

The governor has issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents of who live east of I-95 in six Georgia counties. The order took effect at noon.

At a press conference Monday morning in Savannah, the governor said the state has taken numerous steps to ensure the safety of Georgia residents during the storm. But he said those who don’t heed the evacuation order may be placing their lives at risk.

“We cannot stress enough that Hurricane Dorian remains a significant threat to Georgia,” Kemp said.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded Dorian to a category 4 storm earlier today. But Channel 2 Action News Meteorologist Brian Monahan said the storm remains dangerous.

“It’s weakened a little bit,” he said, “but it’s still a major hurricane.” 

Dorian is expected to bring torrential rain and high winds to the coast. But metro Atlanta may hardly notice the storm when it reaches Georgia as soon as Wednesday.

“You may notice a few more clouds, especially east of Atlanta,” Monahan said. “It’s going to get a little breezy, but that’s about it. No rain.”

11 a.m. update: Hurricane Dorian is moving slowly toward the Florida coast and could reach Georgia and South Carolina by Wednesday night.

At 11 a.m. the National Hurricane Center downgraded the storm to a category 4 hurricane, but said it remains “extremely dangerous,” with winds near 155 mph.

The hurricane center said the storm will move close to the east coast of Florida late tonight, then “move dangerously close to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday.”

The hurricane center has extended a storm surge watch north along the Georgia coast to the Savannah River. 

It had extended a hurricane watch north to Altamaha Sound in Georgia.

President Trump has signed an emergency declaration for Georgia, ensuring that federal emergency aid is available to respond to any areas affected by Dorian.

An evacuation order for parts of six counties east of I-95 takes effect at noon. And all lanes on I-16 will flow westbound beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry urged residents to plan their evacuation route.

“This is about safety, not speed,” McMurry said Monday morning. “We ask that everyone plan ahead, pre-select your evacuation route using 511, carry needed supplies and exercise patience and discretion. We’re all in this together.”

Original post: Hurricane Dorian is still pummeling the Bahamas this morning, but it’s expected to turn north and along the Florida coast tonight. 

The slow-moving but powerful category 5 storm hovered over Grand Bahama Island Monday morning. It could reach the Georgia coast as soon as Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center reported Dorian was moving westward at just 1 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 165 mph. 

Channel 2 Action News Meteorologist Brian Monahan offered some perspective on how slow #Dorian is moving: “It's like taking a full day to travel (continuously) from Atlanta to Blairsville.” 

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from Dorian’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles. 

The National Hurricane Center reported Dorian is expected to gradually weaken, but is “expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days.” 

Hurricane conditions are expected in Florida by late tonight or Tuesday. In addition to high winds, torrential rains are expected along the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in coming days. 

Some 4 to 8 inches of rain is expected along the Georgia coast, and isolated areas could see 10 inches. The Carolinas could see 5 to 10 inches of rain, with 15 inches in isolated areas. 

On Monday Gov. Brian Kemp ordered the evacuation of six Georgia counties east of I-95 as Hurricane Dorian approaches. The evacuation is set to take effect at noon today in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh. The evacuation area includes the Savannah area.

To ease the evacuation, all Interstate 16 lanes will run west beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The exact path of the storm is unclear. But even if it never makes landfall, “this is going to have huge impacts up and down the southeast coast,” Monahan said.

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