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All Georgia counties under state of emergency alert

Gov. Nathan Deal on Sunday declared all of Georgia's 159 counties in a state of emergency as Hurricane Irma barreled toward the Peach State.

A state of emergency had previously been declared in 94 counties; it was expanded to Georgia's other 65 counties Sunday.

In an executive order, Deal said, in part, "Hurricane Irma will now potentially produce excessive rainfall and damaging winds, causing extensive flooding, fallen trees and the closure of numerous roads throughout the state of Georgia ... Due to the size of the storm, all of Georgia may potentially be impacted, regardless of Hurricane Irma's exact track."

Deal urged, "All Georgia citizens need to make the necessary preparations to shelter in place while the storm passes through the state."

With the exception of emergency personnel, the state government will be closed Monday and Tuesday.

Chatham County remains under a flash flood watch, storm surge warning, hurricane watch and tropical storm warning. Up to 8 inches of rain is expected locally.

According to a spokeswoman from the Chatham County Public Information Office, roughly 2,000 people were evacuated Saturday. Search and rescue teams began helping homeless individuals find shelter.

If sustained winds of 39 mph are reached, emergency services will be suspended until weather permits, the county says. While St. Joseph's/Candler and Memorial hospitals are no longer accepting patients, the emergency rooms at St. Joseph's and Memorial will remain open.


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