Weather News

Nearly 300 Hurricane Dorian evacuees leaving Columbus as shelter closes

Hurricane Dorian evacuees housed at the Columbus Civic Center have headed back to the Georgia coast, a Red Cross official said.

The nearly 300 evacuees, all from Glynn County and the Brunswick area, boarded Glynn County school buses Thursday afternoon, and the shelter subsequently closed, said Jay Lawrence, a spokesperson for the Red Cross.

“The buses are here,” he said. “The people are ready to go. We’ve told them they’re going.”

Hurricane Dorian evacuees first arrived at the Red Cross-run shelter in Columbus Monday night following Gov. Brian Kemp’s mandatory evacuation order for residents east of I-95 in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties. Kemp lifted the evacuation orders on Thursday morning.

Some of the evacuees who arrived in Columbus were homeless and had nowhere else to go. How severely Dorian affected Georgia determined how long the Columbus shelter would be open.

Dorian remained offshore as it passed Georgia’s coastline. About 900 Georgia Power customers in the Savannah area were without power as of 7 p.m. Thursday. Power for a majority of customers is expected to be restored by 2 p.m. Friday.

Showers and wind were possible in the Savannah area Thursday evening but sunny weather was expected Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

“We were glad to be here, and it’s good news that they are able to go (back to Glynn County) today,” Lawrence said.

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Nick Wooten is the Southern Trends and Culture reporter for McClatchy’s South region. He is based in Columbus, Georgia at the Ledger-Enquirer but his work also appears in The (Macon) Telegraph and The Sun Herald in Biloxi.Before joining McClatchy, he worked for The (Shreveport La.) Times covering city government and investigations. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.