ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- Contraflow on I-16 will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday to allow for evacuations from coastal Georgia ahead of Hurricane Irma. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has expanded the state of emergency to include 24 additional counties. That brings the total to 30. He also issued mandatory evacuation orders for all areas east of I-95, all of Chatham County, and some areas west of I-95 that could be impacted by storm surge and flooding from the storm. The evacuation orders go into effect on Saturday.
More about contraflow on I-16 in Georgia
- Barricades will be in place on I-16 east at State Route 26 in Laurens County to allow all four lanes of traffic to travel inland.
- All westbound traffic will cross-over onto regular lanes at State Route 26 on I-16 in Laurens County prior to arriving in Macon.
- Eastbound travel on I-16 from Dublin to Savannah will be blocked.
“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Irma,” said Deal. “I encourage all Georgians in our coastal areas that could be impacted by this storm to evacuate the area as soon as possible.”
The 30 counties under a state of emergency are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne and Ware Counties.
The Georgia coast was last struck by a hurricane of force Category 3 or higher in 1898.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also declared an emergency for that neighboring state as officials assessed the chances of receiving a major hurricane strike there for the first time in nearly 28 years.