The predicted path of Hurricane Florence. Image via the National Hurricane Center.
Governor Nathan Deal has declared a State of Emergency across the state as Hurricane Florence prepares to make landfall. Although Atlanta is not expected to take the brunt of the damage, residents should still be concerned about the impact of high winds and heavy rain over the next few days.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the Category 3 Hurricane’s peak winds have decreased slightly to a sustained 125 miles per hour; however, the size of the wind field has increased. A life-threatening storm surge and heavy precipitation are expected in the Carolinas.
Florence, which some analysts have called the “storm of a lifetime” has created 83-foot high waves, will make landfall late Thursday or sometime Friday. Based on the forecast and a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency officials, Deal issued an emergency declaration for all of Georgia’s 159 counties.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence,” Deal said in a statement. “In light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas. GEMA/HS continues to lead our preparedness efforts as we coordinate with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. Finally, I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence.”
In preparation for disaster, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has activated its Emergency Operations Center to address public health needs before, during and after the storm, according to CDC materials. The CDC staff expects to assist in general and medical shelter surveillance for infectious disease outbreaks, public health messaging and risk communication, safety and sanitation evaluations for food and water among other services.
The CDC is also sharing information to help the public stay safe before and after the storm.