Emergency officials continue to urge Middle Georgians to find a safe place to stay throughout Wednesday night and early Thursday morning as Hurricane Michael rolls through the area.
The Category 4 hurricane is ripping through the Florida panhandle Wednesday afternoon before making its way to Georgia. The National Weather Service issued a hurricane and tropical storm warnings for the midstate.
In Macon-Bibb County, local emergency response officials gathered early Wednesday afternoon to update the public on how they are preparing for the storm and how residents can be ready.
“We can expect here in Macon Bibb County and Central Georgia significant wind impacts throughout the evening,” said Spencer Hawkins, director of the Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency. “We’re talking winds sustained between 25-35, maybe even 45 miles per hour with gusts upwards of 50 or 60 miles per hour.”
How to be ready for Hurricane Michael
- Gather the family in an interior room, away from the windows, in the event trees topple on your home;
- Pay attention to local alerts, have a battery-powered weather radio handy and sign up for MBCAlerts from Macon-Bibb County;
- Report damage in Macon to the EMA office at 478-832- 6300;
- Red Cross Shelter is set up at the South Bibb Recreation at 7035 Houston Road.
Macon-Bibb government offices will be closed Thursday. Motorists are asked to stay off the road Thursday so emergency crews can assess the damage and help with recovery efforts, Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said.
The most serious damage in the state is expected to be felt in the southwest region, which is where a large number of Georgia Power crews are ready to deploy in the wake of the hurricane, southwest region vice-president Ron Shipman said.
Residents can check local media and the Georgia Power website to report and get updates on outages, as well as find out when power is likely to be restored.
“As the storm moves we will move resources accordingly,” Shipman said. “We are very fluid in how we operate in a team environment.”
Some counties such as Laurens and Baldwin and Worth have implemented a curfew overnight. The City of Cochran also issued a curfew, but there is not one in Macon-Bibb.
“Hopefully common sense will prevail and (people will) follow our lead and staff of the the road and stay safe,” Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said.
The storm also means Macon bus service will be suspended.
The plan is for buses to stop routes at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday and then return to regular schedule Friday morning, said Craig Ross, president of the Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority.