MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Hurricane Irma’s path is still very uncertain. But even in that unsureness, Macon-Bibb EMA, the fire department, Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, The Red Cross and Visitor’s Bureau are all working together to get food and supplies ready for thousands of visitors.
EMA Director Spencer Hawkins says they’re expecting Irma to hit Middle Georgia beginning Monday night but its course is still unknown.
“It’s important that everyone realizes that there is still a lot of determination waiting to happen with this track. It could go either way–the east coast or the west coast of Florida and impact Georgia in different ways,” he said.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Macon-Bibb EMA and other county agencies discussed their plans to prepare for the storm.
“We had a Hurricane Irma planning meeting with about 75 of our response partners which consisted of approximately 30 different departments through out the county as well as community partners here locally in Macon-Bibb and we’re ready,” Hawkins continued.
He says he wants residents to be ready for heavy winds, trees down, possible power outages, and a lot of traffic from incoming evacuees.
“Governor Scott of Florida has just issued an evacuation notice for most of the Florida peninsula and we’ve already started seeing an increased number of people coming into our state and into our community,” Hawkins said.
The category 5 storm with 185 mile per hour winds has prompted thousands in Florida to travel north and as of now, the estimated 5,000 hotel rooms in Macon-Bibb are booked.
“If you have visitors, if you have people in town send them our way. If they have questions, we can help them with resources and also check availability to make sure they have a positive experience while they’re here,” said Visit Macon’s Gary Wheat.
In the meantime, the sheriff’s office, Red Cross, fire department and school district are taking their own measures to prepare for the storm, ramping up volunteers and officers to handle the influx of people coming our way.
Even though hotels are booked across the county, Red Cross has confirmed at least 3 shelters in Macon-Bibb will be open to people who need a place to stay.
To check hotel availability for family or friends who may be coming in state, you can visit this website.