CEMA says: if you evacuated, don't come back yet!

CEMA Warns Against Returning Before Irma Has Passed (10 AM UPDATE)

The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) warns residents who have evacuated to avoid returning to their homes before Hurricane Irma has passed.

A Storm Surge Warning remains in effect. According to the National Hurricane Center, this means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

Strong onshore winds and high tides may drive water well over coastal roadways in the area, including U.S. Highway 80 to Tybee Island. Winds may uproot trees, resulting in hazards related to downed power lines and broken gas lines. Tornadoes are also possible from late Sunday night through Monday afternoon.

The entire county is under a flash flood watch, with up to 8 inches of rain predicted. Heavy rains could result in driving hazards as well as the danger of personal injury. Residents in the area should avoid driving through standing water and should keep in mind “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” as it is difficult to determine the water’s depth. Only six inches of water can sweep a vehicle from the roadway.

Avoid walking through standing water, because downed power lines pose the threat of electrocution.

The Evacuation Assembly Area (EAA) at the Savannah Civic Center will close at 1 p.m. today to ensure adequate travel time to get evacuees to shelter. Domesticated animals may evacuate with you, but must be in a crate and also have immunization records. Please do not leave your pets outside.

Residents, evacuating from the EAA, will be transported to a shelter and then brought back into Chatham County when conditions are safe. Areas of Chatham County in Zone A remain under a mandatory evacuation. Zones B and C of Chatham County are still under a general evacuation order.

On Saturday, the EAA evacuated approximately 2,000 people to Augusta and Douglas, Georgia.

Residents should not dial 911 for evacuation information. Call (912) 201-4500 instead.

St. Joseph’s/Candler and Memorial Hospitals are no longer accepting patients at this time. The emergency rooms at Memorial and St. Joseph’s Hospitals remain open.

In order to ensure the safety of first responders, emergency services including fire, ambulance and rescue will be suspended when wind speeds at the airport reach 39 mph. Residents should be aware that these services will not resume until a road safety assessment has been completed.

A county wide curfew will be in effect from 10 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Monday, September 11, 2017.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will close the Talmadge Bridge beginning at noon today.

There will be another press conference today at 4 p.m.

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