Map courtesy Office of Gov. Brian Kemp

ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency in all 159 Georgia counties in anticipation of Hurricane Ian, currently a Category 3 hurricane expected to hit the state on Friday. 

The state of emergency will take effect at 7 a.m. Thursday in preparation for expected high winds and rainfall over the state as the hurricane moves north.

Currently hovering over Cuba, Ian is expected to strike Florida’s west coast on Wednesday and Thursday and move north into Georgia on Friday, bringing with it heavy rains, flooding and high winds. 

The southeast Georgia coast is likely to be hit with a tropical storm or depression before the storm exits Georgia on Sunday, with possible storm surges, beach erosion and rip currents predicted. 

Coastal Camden and Glynn counties are already under a tropical storm warning. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the entire Georgia coast.

Across the state, Georgians could face heavy rains, flooding, high winds and the loss of power, the governor’s office said. 

Georgians are encouraged to pay close attention to local officials’ guidance and make emergency plans. Those in low-lying or coastal areas should consider moving to higher ground.

Georgia activated the State Operations Center this week to help prepare for the storm. The State Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency is currently at Level 2 activation. 

The state of emergency extends until Oct. 28. 

Those who find themselves in Ian’s eventual path can also consult the informational website, which includes tips on storm preparedness before, during, and after a hurricane.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.