HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE #2 -
12 noon, Saturday, September 9th
FROM: Douglas County Communications & Community Relations and Douglas County Emergency Management
Here is the latest information about Hurricane Irma we received from the National Weather Service at its 12 noon briefing for emergency management teams across the State.
- The size of Irma’s hurricane wind field extends 70 miles out from the eye of the storm (130 - 156 mph winds). The tropical storm wind field is 200 miles wide (39 - 73 mph winds).
- The forecast track of Irma has changed over the past 24 hours.
o Irma’s path is now predicted to come up the west coast of Florida.
o Once Irma comes into Georgia, it is predicted to start bending northwestward, and is predicted to follow a track from Albany to Americus to LaGrange to Anniston and then farther into Alabama. Irma most likely will be a tropical storm by the time it gets to Albany (73 mph winds).
o Because the eye of the storm is now predicted to go to the west of Douglas County, we will experience higher winds, more rain, and an increased chance of tornadoes.
- All of the State will most probably experience tropical force winds (minimum 39 mph).
- South Georgia will start to feel the impacts of the storm Sunday evening.
- North Georgia, including Douglas County, should start feeling the winds Monday morning.
o On Monday, the maximum wind gusts should be about 45 mph, and will be inside the bands of rain surrounding the hurricane.
o On Monday night, the rain should increase and wind gusts will increase to about 55 mph.
o On Tuesday, we can expect more rain and wind gusts of 55 mph.
- Douglas County can expect 3 - 5 inches of rain, although some of the rain bands may produce heavier amounts. Rainfall totals are expected to be much higher to the east of us.
- Some lower-lying areas, such as Sweetwater Creek, may experience short periods of flooding but no overall flooding is anticipated. If there is a storm drain near your home, please check and clear any debris from it before the storm arrives.
- There is an increasing risk of tornadoes developing with this storm.
- The biggest impacts from Irma in Douglas County most likely will be widespread downed trees & powerlines, high winds, and the possibilities of tornadoes.
The confidence in the forecast is increasing as Irma gets closer to the Florida Keys. The National Weather Service will update emergency managers again tonight at 8:30 p.m., and at 12 noon and 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Updates will be posted, as appropriate, on the County web site at www.CelebrateDouglasCounty.com and on Douglas County Happenings on Facebook.
We anticipate that the Douglas County Emergency Operations Center will open on Sunday night or Monday morning, and representatives from all local governments, the School System, and other involved entities will be coordinating efforts.
It is anticipated that www.DouglasCountyEmergency.com will be activated over the weekend to centralize storm data and local information in one place. The site is managed by Douglas County Communications.
If you have friends or family who are leaving Florida or eastern Georgia, encourage them to go west instead of north. There should be fewer effects of the storm in Alabama.
As always, forecasts are subject to change, but regardless, this storm has a lot of damage potential.
Be weather aware all weekend. Watch The Weather Channel or another reputable weather source for the latest updates. As of now, there is no reason to think that the Courthouse or other County operations and programs will be closed on Monday.