Hurricane Irma: Georgia changes evacuation order; schools cancel; Atlanta airport status

South Carolina governor declares state of emergency for Irma

Georgia is bracing for potentially far-flung impacts from Hurricane Irma, which forecasters say could swamp the coast with storm surge near Savannah and topple trees and power lines in Atlanta.

Regardless, Deal stuck by his evacuation order issued a day earlier for Georgia's almost 540,000 coastal residents to leave beginning Saturday morning.

Governor McMaster says nothing has changed regarding the evacuations on Beaufort, Colleton, and Jasper Counties.

Thousands of Georgia coastal residents and many thousands more from Florida have heeded the advice of Gov. Nathan Deal and other top emergency officials and have evacuated to Atlanta to escape the wind and rain of Hurricane Irma.

During a Friday briefing, McMaster said officials will await a 5 p.m. update on Irma's projected path before issuing an evacuation order that could come around 6 p.m.

McMaster said he signed a memorandum of understanding with Florida Gov. Rick Scott to provide assistance from SC first responders, law enforcement, state fire and rescue teams and other agencies as needed.

Mayor John Tecklenburg said there were no serious injuries and the city would be back to normal Wednesday.

Experts warned the Santee River near Jamestown, Waccamaw River near Conway and Black Creek near Quinby could flood later Tuesday, after Irma dumped as much as 8 inches of rain on parts of SC.

The county said they need to make sure roads are clear of trees and bridges and causeways were not damaged by the storm surge that washed over them Monday from Irma. Or the storm could veer further west and cross the Florida Panhandle into Alabama. "We have not had one like this in the state of Georgia for a very long time", Deal said, referring to the widespread impact.

Search crews planned to go door-to-door in the Keys to check on residents.

Though South Carolina lies outside the storm's cone of direction, officials have cautioned that it still poses dangers to the state, including heavy rains, flooding, high winds and the possibility of tornadoes.

"Just because the weather appears to be calm now, don't take that for granted", Deal said during a Friday news conference.

Savannah fine art photographer Dan Kaufman stops in the middle of almost deserted downtown Savannah, Ga., Sunday, Sept., 10, 2017 to take a photo of City Hall before winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Irma are forecast to impact the area.

Irma is "roughly the size of the state of Texas", Cooper said.

Evacuees' four-legged friends were also seeking safety: Animal shelters that were already busier than usual with pets displaced from Texas and Louisiana last month by Hurricane Harvey reported more arrivals from Florida.

Right now, gas prices are the highest they've been in more than two years. "So I'm sticking with my final decision and we're out of here".

Western Florida peninsula...10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.

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