Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell called the impact of Hurricane Matthew a “life-threatening situation” that will be felt up to 100 miles inland.
Gov. Nathan Deal earlier issued a mandatory evacuation order for anyone living east of I-95 in Coastal Georgia. Howell said the National Weather Service is predicting up to a foot of rain and hurricane-force winds (79 mph and above) in coastal areas and up to six inches of rain and tropical storm-force winds (40 to 79 mph) inland.
A storm surge of up to nine feet is expected along the coast and a flash flood watch is in effect.
Bryan County is forecast to begin feeling the impact of Hurricane Matthew Friday afternoon and it will continue for at least 24 hours.
Howell added that he has received phone calls from people in South Bryan asking if they really need to leave.
“I strongly encourage it,” he said.
Those who ignore a mandatory evacuation order could find themselves without access to emergency services. Under a mandatory evacuation, people who do not leave would not have access to emergency services.
The Georgia Department of Transportation began a contraflow on I-16 around 2 p.m. with all lanes open to westbound traffic.
Bryan County Emergency Services is asking people not to call 911 with non-emergency questions. Those should be directed to (912) 858-2790 or (912) 858-2799.
BCES will post updates on its Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/BryanCountyEmergencyServices/.
The U.S. Postal Service has announced its facilities will be closed Friday and Saturday and there will be no mail delivery on those days. Normal operations are scheduled to resume Tuesday after the Columbus Day holiday Monday.
For more information on disaster preparation, please see www.ready.ga.gov.