Nathan Deal issues state of emergency for all of Georgia

Move by governor allows state agencies to mobilize response ahead of severe storms

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for all of Georgia Monday night in a pre-emptive move to prepare state agencies for severe weather moving into the state, the governor’s office has announced.

Officials from the governor’s office said the move will make state resources available to prepare and respond in areas hit hard by the storm, which has already spawned tornadoes across the southeast.

“At this juncture, we’ve declared the emergency for the entire state because it’s impossible to pinpoint where the weather will hit,” said Deal in a written statement. “Georgia is threatened at least through [Tuesday] and perhaps into Wednesday. We’re prepared now and we’ll be ready for recovery should we, God forbid, experience tornado damage or flooding.

“The state is sending the latest weather information we have available to affected schools districts, so that they can make informed decisions as they plan for tomorrow,” he added. “I recommend that Georgians download the Ready Georgia app, follow GEMA on Twitter and tune in to media reports as the weather develops.”

There is an 80 percent chance of precipitation overnight in the Southern Crescent and that number is expected to increase until it eventually hits 100 percent around Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Severe thunderstorms and wind gusts up to 25 mph are possible, weather officials said.

The weather service initially include Clayton and Henry counties in a tornado watch issued earlier Monday evening. However, both counties had been removed from the watch area by 11:30 p.m. Despite that change in the predictions concerning tornadoes, both counties remain in a flood watch area through Thursday at 2 a.m.

Clayton County emergency management officials issued an alert Monday afternoon warning residents that flooding was expected along the Flint River.

“Heavy rains with amounts in Clayton County of up to three inches are expected,” the county’s alert stated. “The possibility of flash flooding along creeks and low lying areas may occur. Minor flooding along the Flint River is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday.”

Officials in both counties urged residents to be prepared for the storm by having emergency preparedness kits and plans in place before the storm hit.

“Take a few moments today and ensure that you and your family are prepared for a potentially 3-day severe weather event,” Henry County Fire Department officials wrote on their Facebook page. “Check your weather radios, flashlights, and that you have extra batteries for each. Continue to monitor the weather situation for your area and heed the warnings as they are posted.”

Residents are also advised to take the following precautions:

• Avoid downed power lines and standing or heavy streams of water.

• Download the state’s Ready Georgia emergency preparedness application for smart phones and tablet computers.

• Be prepared to head to the lowest, windowless room in a house — such as a basement or another low-level interior room away from doors and windows — if a tornado is nearby.

• Make sure cellphones, laptop computers, tablets and other electronic devices are fully charged before going to bed.

Residents can track storm updates by following the Clayton County Office of Emergency Management and the Henry County Fire Department on Facebook.

Clayton County’s emergency management office can also be followed on Twitter at the @ClaytonCoOEM handle, while the Henry County Fire Department can be followed at the @HenryCoFireDept handle.

Updates for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency can also be found on Twitter at the @GeorgiaEMA handle.