Laurens Co. EMA opens shelter as historic Category 1 hurricane approaches

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DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Emergency Management Officials in Dublin are now preparing for the most powerful storm they’ve ever faced with Michael now expected to hit Middle Georgia as a Category 1 hurricane.

“It’s gonna be devastating. This storm that’s coming in is a lot bigger than what was originally anticipated,” said Peggy Bentz with the American Red Cross.

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As Michael rips through the Florida Panhandle, Laurens County EMA officials are monitoring its path.

“It does continue to intensify and increase in wind speed,” said Deputy EMA Director Bill Laird.

EMA officials have been receiving updates on the expected impact in Dublin and surrounding areas since early Wednesday morning.



“From tonight around midnight until about 6:00 am we’re being told very high winds. We do have the potential for some Hurricane Force winds,” Laird explained.

As a result of the heightened danger, Laurens County commissioners and Dublin city officials have agreed to put a curfew in place beginning at midnight that will go on until Thursday at noon.

“We’re looking at just trying to manage a lot of debris, trees down on the road ways, power lines–things like that,” he continued.

They’ve also opened a shelter in town for residents in need.

“You know we’ve got to be here to support our community, to support the people who come in to our community and we’ve got a lot of great people around here willing to help,” Bentz told 41NBC.

They’re sheltering people inside Jefferson Street Baptist Church.

“It’ll hold anywhere around 200 people. I’m not sure if we’re expecting that many but we will be prepared to take in that many if need be,” she went on.

Officials are encouraging anyone living in a home or space that cannot withstand the high-powered winds to head over.

For the latest updates on the storm you can download the 41NBC Accuweather App, 41NBC news app or head over to the Laurens County website at laurenscountyga.org to stay in the know.