Georgians are not in the clear from the effects of Hurricane Florence.
Gov. Nathan Deal issued an emergency declaration for all of the state’s 159 counties after the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory Wednesday.
“This storm system has the potential to have catastrophic impact to citizens throughout the east coast region of the United States,” the declaration stated.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence,” Deal said in a statement.
Deal outlawed price gouging for goods related to support recovery and preparation efforts.
The latest forecast advisories show the 130 mph storm making landfall early Friday in the Carolinas as a major hurricane but then taking a turn toward the southwest.
The actual track is expected to change as the storm, which was downgraded to a Category 3 Wednesday afternoon, heads to the Southeast. But forecast models now indicate the storm could stall and bring more than 20 inches of rain to the North Carolina coast before the center of circulation sloshes toward Georgia early next week.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City concluded early Wednesday that “there is some increased confidence for a wetter and windier period.”
Most of Georgia is in the “cone of uncertainty” as Florence remained hundreds of miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, Wednesday afternoon.
Tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph or greater are expected to hit eastern parts of Georgia as early as Thursday evening.
Winds will intensify as Florence gets closer to landfall and conditions will remain breezy in Georgia after the storm moves inland.
Parts of northeast Georgia could see 4 inches of rain with up to 2 inches expected in Middle Georgia, according to advisories.
After ample rain earlier in the summer, precipitation is needed as parts of Georgia have become abnormally dry in recent weeks.
Everyone is urged to pay attention to the latest information from the National Hurricane Center as the storm’s forecast is honed over the next few days.
A year ago, Hurricane Irma had weakened to a tropical storm before hitting Middle Georgia, but hours of strong wind gusts wreaked havoc on some Macon neighborhoods before the weakening depression tracked through Columbus to Alabama.