Local school officials in Atlanta are still weighing whether or not to close schools in anticipation of severe weather from Hurricane Irma.
The storm, now a Category 4 hurricane, is expected to hit Florida on Saturday and will move into Georgia and the Carolinas on late Sunday or early Monday, according to Weather.com. Most of Georgia can expect 3 to 6 inches of rain.
Atlanta Public Schools said it is waiting until Sunday to make a decision.
“Superintendent Carstarphen will meet with district leadership on Sunday evening,” a spokesperson for APS said. “Based on the latest weather information available at that time we will determine the impact to school operations for Monday. If a decision to cancel classes is made parents/caregivers will be notified Sunday evening by robo-call and text messaging. We will also post the information on our website and convey the information to the media for broadcast.”
City Schools of Decatur Superintendent David Dude said school officials will also monitor the storm through the weekend.
CSD issued this statement on Friday afternoon:
Hurricane Irma – CSD Monitoring the Potential Impact
City Schools of Decatur is carefully monitoring the potential impact on our area from Hurricane Irma. We are in constant communication with state and local emergency management agencies, and we will stay in touch with them throughout the weekend and into next week. As more information becomes available, we will make decisions to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
If a need arises to cancel, delay, or dismiss early from school, we will notify parents through our robo call emergency notification system (Infinite Campus). Notifications will also be posted on the district website and district Facebook page as well as local media outlets (TV, radio, and online news).
This is a good time to log into the parent portal (Infinite Campus) and check the numbers you have listed for general and emergency notifications.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as more information becomes available.
DeKalb County Schools is monitoring situation but says there are no plans to cancel classes on Monday. That could change, however.
“No cancellations are planned thus far. Both Monday and Tuesday are the key days for us at this point,” Superintendent R. Stephen Green said in a press release. “We have a Board meeting scheduled for Monday, and we’re watching the weather very closely. More importantly, we’ll also be watching during the school day, knowing we have after-school activities on both days. We will confer as an administrative team, and with the Board of Education, over the weekend and make decisions as we get closer to the moment at hand.”
Lauren Merritt, a meteorologist National Weather Service, said the Atlanta area should expect to see the effects of the storm starting late Sunday and early Monday and into Tuesday. She said residents should expect heavy rain, tropical-storm force winds and should stay tuned the news for warnings about possible tornadoes.
“The main thing for this situation specifically is for everyone to be aware of what’s going on,” she said. “The forecast is currently evolving. It’s really just keeping up with exactly what’s going on as well as listening to the local officials in your area.”
President Donald Trump has already signed an emergency declaration for Georgia and Gov. Nathan Deal ordered the evacuation of coastal cities, including Savannah. Atlantans already are seeing the increased traffic from coastal Georgia and Florida residents moving further inland.
So what should residents do to prepare?
According to Atlanta INtown, residents should prepare to be without power for up to 72 hours. INtown also provided these additional tips to help residents get ready:
The following are basic storm preparation tips from various government sources:
- Make a communications and meeting plan: Have a plan for how family members or other loved ones will safely meet and stay in contact if a disaster happens while you are separated.
- Make a three-day “ready kit”: Collect any supplies needed to go at least three days (72 hours) without power or water, and any important documents you might need if evacuation is required. Basic supplies include water (at least 1 gallon per day per day person), non-perishable food, first aid items, prescription medicines, and extra clothing and blankets. If you have pets, remember to include their food, water, medicine and a safe way to store and carry them.
- Stay informed: A battery-powered radio is a good way to get communications if the power goes out. Make sure cellphones are fully charged before the storm arrives.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency has a website about making a disaster preparation plan at ready.ga.gov. GEMA also offers a cellphone app that offers planning advice as well as automatic emergency alerts.
Local emergency alert systems
Several local governments offer automatic emergency alerts and information via phone, email or text. Some auto alerts in local communities include those below; click on the names for a link.
DeKalb County: CodeRED
Fulton County: CodeRED
Source: Atlanta INtown.