Georgia governor declares state of emergency ahead of Irma

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in the state’s six coastal counties ahead of menacing Hurricane Irma.

Deal said Wednesday his emergency order ensures aid for communities along Georgia’s 100-mile (160-kilometer) coastline, prohibits price gouging for fuel and other goods and services. It also relaxes regulations on trucking to allow increased deliveries of storm relief supplies.

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Irma roared through the Caribbean with powerful 185-mph winds Wednesday on its way toward southern Florida. Emergency managers in Georgia said tropical storm force winds could reach the state over the weekend. No evacuations were ordered as great uncertainty remained about the hurricane’s precise path.

Coastal Georgia evacuated last October in a brush with Hurricane Matthew, which killed three people and left widespread damage without making landfall in the state.

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A Georgia speedway is opening its vast campgrounds to people evacuating from Hurricane Irma.A Georgia speedway is opening its vast campgrounds to people evacuating from Hurricane Irma. Atlanta Motor Speedway officials said in a statement Wednesday that its tent and RV campgrounds will host evacuees free of charge beginning on Thursday. The speedway is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Atlanta, and typically handles thousands of race fans who camp on the grounds during its annual NASCAR race weekend.