Preparations for Hurricane Irma in Bryan County continue Saturday morning but local officials say that much of the work is done.
In Richmond Hill many businesses have already closed. And most of those that are open will close later today. Plantation Supply will close at noon, Publix at 2 p.m.
One exception is Clyde’s Market at the intersection of Ga. 144 and U.S. 17 whose manager (who declined to be named) said he would keep the store open as long as possible. Clyde’s however, like several Richmond Hill fuel outlets does not have any gasoline.
Gas was available Saturday morning at stations at both the Interstate 95 exits in the city.
City officials have been meeting regularly and making preparations for the storm. Some of the results can be seen in the parking lot of the Ways Station Shopping Center where numerous pieces of heavy equipment and dump trucks are staged in preparation for debris removal if needed.
While Richmond Hill does not plan a curfew at this time from 8 p.m. Sunday until 8 a.m. Tuesday police in the city will closely monitor the activities of anyone out and about. And beginning today police will step up their patrols in subdivisions to help protect the property of both people who have evacuated and those who did not Fowler said.
While some Richmond Hill residents have evacuated it appears that just as many perhaps more are staying.
“I left it up to my wife and she said to stay,” Vance Askew said on his way in to Publix to buy batteries.
Less than one in 10 homes or businesses have plywood over their windows.
In Pembroke many businesses are still open and gas is available William Collins, Pembroke public safety director said. However many residents have left.
“A lot of people have already left and I think that is good because we really don’t what this thing is doing, it has not been very predictable,” he said.
“Where we are going to be housed is prepared and ready. We’ve got some people coming in so I am going to open up the (Dixie) Harn Center for some of the incoming military folks who going to be assisting us,” Collins said.
As far as what Irma might bring to north Bryan County city Collins said it was too soon to say.
“The predictions right now are just about the same as yesterday. For us in our area we are looking at 50-70 mph winds,” he said.
There are no curfews planned for Pembroke at this time.
Bryan County Emergency Services Director Freddy Howell said the county has established command centers in Ellabell and Richmond Hill.
“Nothing has changed except the track; the governor hasn’t lifted the state of emergency. We are still under an emergency evacuation order (for residents east of I-95). We are just in preparation mode, sitting and waiting to see what this thing is going to do,” he said.
As far as the storm’s impact on the county Howell said if Irma tracks as currently predicted there would Tropical Storm winds when it reached the Georgia – Florida line.
“The biggest thing we are worried about being on the right-hand side, the right-hand side is kind of like a whip and we may get some tornados. Storm surge depends on when it gets to us, if it is a low tide we will be good. If it is a high tide we could have some minor flooding.
According the National Hurricane Center at 8 a.m. Saturday the earliest Bryan County residents could expect Tropical Storm force winds would be overnight Sunday. Hurricane Irma’s current projected path has it crossing the Georgia – Florida border near Valdosta late Monday night.
Bryan County Schools, and all governmental offices in the county as well as Pembroke and Richmond will be closed through Tuesday.