State of Emergency expanded for all of Georgia

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ATLANTA - Hurricane Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Florida Sunday morning in the Florida Keys, and has since been downgraded to a Category 1 storm.

The storm then made a second landfall on the mainland of Florida in Marco Island at 3:35 p.m.

Severe Weather Team 2's Karen Minton & Brian Monahan are tracking Irma as it tears through Florida and makes its way toward Georgia. They'll have the latest on the storm's track on Channel 2 Action News

A Tropical Storm Watch has upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning Sunday morning, ahead of the storm moving inland.

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Meteorologist Katie Walls said that the time for Georgia to be most weather-aware is from Monday morning until Tuesday morning.

Schools are closing ahead of Hurricane Irma and its impact in Georgia. 
 
Walls said up to 7 inches of rain are possible for parts of Georgia by Tuesday. 

[READ: Gov. Deal expands emergency declaration to 94 counties total]

Storm threats for Georgia include wind gusts up to 60 mph. Heavy rain began early Monday morning, and down trees and power outages are all possible throughout the day and into Tuesday.


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As we head into Tuesday afternoon, the storm will continue to weaken to a tropical depression as it moves out of Georgia altogether.

Georgia braces for Irma's impact

Saturday morning drivers saw a contraflow of traffic on Interstate 16 to help with now-mandatory evacuations.

Gov. Nathan Deal is urging Georgians to have a healthy fear of Hurricane Irma.

On Sunday, Deal expanded a State of Emergency to include all of Georgia. 

"The state of emergency now includes all 159 counties in Georgia," Deal said in a statement. "State government will be closed Monday and Tuesday for all employees except essential personnel."

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

SCHOOL CLOSINGS

Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Coweta, and several other school districts are closed Monday ahead of Hurricane Irma. Atlanta Public Schools is also closed Monday, due to inclement weather.

[FULL LIST: School, business closings]

Floridian Taylor Buck wasn't taking anything for granted and thought he was taking the proper steps to keep his family safe but told Channel 2’s Carl Willis that changed Thursday night when he said the Holiday Inn Northlake canceled his reservation.

"It's not a good feeling because all week we felt like we had a plan. We were ready to go. And that just blew up," Buck said.

[READ: Grocery store shelves cleared as metro Atlanta prepares for Irma]

He told Willis that a hotel manager told him his five rooms were sold out from under him to a national bank that needed 75 rooms for its employees.

A manager denied that when Willis asked questions, but then she put Willis on hold and never returned to the phone to explain.

Buck couldn't find another room and said his family was left to face the risk in Florida.

"I hope that we're going to be safe. I hope there aren't any other families affected by this," Buck said.

Workers in FEMA's regional coordination center in DeKalb County are working to minimize the impact.

They told Channel 2 Action News at last count there were 7,500 federal personnel deployed, with more on the way.

They said there were 10 urban search and rescue teams strategically positioned in Florida and Georgia.

FEMA said they had nearly 10 million liters of water, more than 5 million meals, 13,000 cots and 41,000 blankets ready to be deployed where needed.

"It's organized chaos. We've been doing this for a few days, and we've done it before," Brandon Bolinski with FEMA said.


We have teams of reporters and photographers fanned out throughout Florida and Georgia for continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma. 
 
Severe Weather Team 2 is working to bring you the latest forecasts and LIVE coverage from some of the most heavily impacted areas as the massive storm approaches Georgia.
 
Stay with WSBTV.com and Channel 2 Action News over the next several days for the most updated information around the clock.

 

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