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North Georgia still bracing for effects of Irma
Hurricane makes landfall in Florida, expected to enter Georgia on Monday as a tropical storm
High surf from Hurricane Irma crashes below the pier at Dania Beach, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) - photo by Associated Press

Hall County is still expected to feel the effects of Hurricane Irma with high winds and heavy rain from the storm Monday into Tuesday.

Destructive tropical storm force winds with sustained speeds of 40 to 60 miles per hour and gusts of 50 to 75 mph are expected across much of Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. Gainesville is forecast to get 50 to 55 mph wind gusts.

“Thousands of trees and power lines will be downed, and power outages may last over 24 hours,” the Weather Service report states. “Travel disruptions and delays due to downed trees may be substantial.” 

The area also is forecast to receive 3 to 5 inches of rainfall, according to the reports provided by David Kimbrell, Hall County's Emergency Management Agency director.

“Areas along and north of the center of the storm are at an increased risk of brief tornadoes. They would be rain-wrapped and nearly impossible to see,” the report said.
Irma is expected to come into South Georgia by early Monday as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, according to the National Weather Service’s latest briefing. The tropical storm will weaken later in the day Monday as it moves north.

“Due to the massive area extent of Irma, impacts will likely be felt statewide regardless of the forecast error cone or further track and intensity refinements,” the Weather Service report said. “These impacts will also be felt well before the center of the storm reaches Georgia.”

Tropical storm force conditions could begin as early as Sunday evening in South Georgia, according to the NWS briefing.

“After moving northward through the state, tropical storm force conditions could linger in North Georgia through Tuesday,” the report said. “Hurricane force impacts are expected in South Georgia beginning Monday morning and continuing through Monday evening.”

Impacts expected from Irma based on the current forecast include:

• Destructive winds: Higher sustained winds and gusts could occur in South Georgia, particularly along and east of the center of the storm. Winds of this magnitude will cause impacts comparable to those of Hurricane Opal in 1995 when wind gusts of 50 to 75 mph occurred in the Atlanta metro area. 

• Heavy rainfall and flash flooding: Southeast Georgia could see 8 to 15 inches of rain with isolated amounts up to 20 inches. Other portions of Eastern Georgia could see 4-8 inches of rainfall, and Western Georgia will likely see 2-5 inches of rainfall.  

Meanwhile, many in the path of the storm from Florida have been heading north. Jaemor Farms in Alto are seeing Floridians drive by and stop in as they head to shelter.

“It is bad to have to flee from your home,” Judah Echols, Jaemor Farms manager, said Saturday. “I feel for them having to leave their home behind, but it is good that they can come up here and I think most everyone in Georgia welcomes them with open arms.”

Echols said they have seen business pick up over “the last couple of days with all the traffic coming by on the way to the mountains.”

He said they are seeing a larger amount of customers than usual.

“On a day like today we are having an extra 300 to 400 people in our store,” he said. “We typically see about 2,000 a day on a Saturday, but a 400 extra would be an extra 20 percent bump in business.”

Those he has spoken to, Echols said, have made plans to either stay in second homes, with family and friends or in campers.

“We are seeing some people in campers, but I think most of them have made arrangements to either stay with family or friends up in the mountains,” he said. “There are quite a few people, especially retirees in Florida, which actually have second homes up in the mountains from Rabun County up to the Franklin area, even into North Carolina.”

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Severe weather contact info

School systems

Banks County, 706-677-2224

Buford, 770-945-5035

Commerce, 706-335-5500

Dawson County, 706-265-3246

Forsyth County, 770-887-2461

Gainesville, 770-536-5275

Habersham County, 706-754-2118

Hall County, 770-534-1080

Jackson County, 706-367 5151

Jefferson, 706-367 2880

Lumpkin County, 706-864-3611

Rabun County, 706-746-5376

Towns County, 706-896-2279

Union County, 706-745-2322

White County, 706-865-2315

Colleges and universities

Brenau University, 770-534-6299

Lanier Technical College, 770-531-6300

Piedmont College, 706-778-3000

Truett-McConnell College, 706-865-2134

University of North Georgia (all campuses), 706-864-1400

North Georgia Technical College, 706-754-7700 (Clarkesville), 706-439-6300 (Blairsville)

Law enforcement/fire

For emergencies, dial 911; for nonemergencies, call the following:

Hall County, 770-536-8812

Gainesville, police, 770-534-5252; fire, 707-534-3612

Power companies

Georgia Power, 888-660-5890, 706-864-3614

Jackson EMC, in Gainesville, 770-536-2415; in Jefferson, 706-367-5281

Sawnee EMC, 770-887-2363

Amicalola EMC, 706-253-5200

Habersham EMC, 800-640-6812


AT&T: repair calls, 877-737-2478; customer service, 800-288-2020; online,

Windstream, Blairsville, 706-745-6911, Cleveland, 706-865-2442; Commerce, 706-335-6640; Cornelia, 706-778-2500; Dahlonega, 706-867-3333; Dawsonville 706-216-2222; Hiawassee, 706-896-2500

Cable TV

Charter Communications, 770-438-2427, 800-955-7766

Comcast, 404-266-2278

Roads, highways

Georgia DOT, 511 for updated road conditions

Create a family emergency plan 

Your family may not be together when a storm approaches, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what to do in case of an emergency. Your plan should include:

  • Evacuation route information
  • A plan to shelter in place
  • Pre-identify a meeting place in case your family is separated
  • A written list of important phone numbers for family, neighbors, utility companies, medical care providers, insurance agent, veterinarian, etc.
  • Copies of insurance policies
  • A home inventory
  • Important documents, identification cards, credit cards, etc.
  • Health insurance identification cards.

Build a storm kit

Kits should include items you will need for at least 72 hours after a storm, such as:

  • Nonperishable foods and a can opener
  • First aid kit
  • Three-day supply of water per person
  • Clean clothing
  • Basic hygiene supplies
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Batteries

Source: Hall County Sheriff's Office

People stand next to palm trees as they look at churning waves and high winds along Hollywood Beach, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) - photo by Associated Press
A police car patrols the beach in anticipation for Hurricane Irma, in Hollywood, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) - photo by Associated Press
A young boy plays in the waves churned up by Hurricane Irma on Hollywood Beach, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) - photo by Associated Press
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