Southern Governors Ready States for Hurricane Dorian

Workers cover stained glass windows with plywood sections at the Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church, in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on Friday, in Flagler Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (CN) – As Hurricane Dorian moves away from the flooded remains of the Bahamas, governors across the American South are ordering evacuations, declaring states of emergency and asking for federal support ahead of the storm’s expected U.S. landfall. 

Dorian is moving steadily at about 8 mph, set to reach the southern coast Wednesday before moving up the mid-Atlantic by the second half of this week, according to an advisory issued this morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agency said the storm continues to have maximum sustained winds over 100 mph but is expected to weaken as it makes landfall. 

Citing “potential storm surge, strong winds, and rainfall,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster wrote President Donald Trump on Saturday to request that he declare a state of emergency. The request includes additional support for emergency communication systems as well as air and ground transportation, food, water and power generators. 

“It is critical that the state have access to federal resources and support to assist in response operations, so as to rapidly deploy to meet immediate life and property saving missions,” the letter states. 

So far, McMaster has also issued mandatory evacuations for seven coastal counties, a number that could still rise. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp echoed McMaster’s call for some residence to take shelter further inland with about 21 counties east of I-95 entering a state of emergency. An area NASCAR race track, the Atlanta Motor Speedway, has been opened to house those seeking shelter from the storm. 

Kemp also issued an executive order suspending federal transportation laws so that gasoline and other resource carriers can move through the state unabated following the storm.

“We’ve got all hands on deck for this powerful storm,” the governor tweeted on Tuesday night, announcing as well the state’s National Guard would be mobilized during the storm. “Please stay vigilant.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has called for the evacuation of the state’s barrier islands, but Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has yet to take that step. Both leaders have urged residents to prepare for the worst. 

“Together with our state agencies, we are updating the commonwealth’s existing emergency management procedures and making the necessary investments to ensure our personnel and localities have the training and resources to navigate the response to and recovery from any type of disaster,” Northam said in a statement. “I encourage all Virginians to follow suit and take steps now to make sure they are ready with an emergency plan and emergency supplies.”

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