Atlanta Motor Speedway opens for Hurricane Dorian evacuees

Georgia preparing for possible influx of hurricane evacuees coming north

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — The Atlanta Motor Speedway is now an option for families looking for a place to camp out until Hurricane Dorian is no longer a threat.

The category 2 storm is currently heading to Florida bringing a lot of rain and damaging winds, and parts of South Georgia could feel its strength when it hits the mainland.

State leaders are ready.

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“We’re staging our resources so that we have the flexibility to go where they’re needed,” said Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Homer Bryson.

Georgia State Patrol have troopers on standby for evacuees traveling north on the interstates from Florida and South Georgia.

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“We’ve got 150 troopers that are assigned, 125 of them are designated if we have contraflow on I-16,” said Georgia State Patrol Col. Mark McDonough.

We still have a couple of days before Dorian makes landfall as a category 4 hurricane.

Governor Brian Kemp isn't ready to tell people they need to cancel their Labor Day plans yet, but he does have a warning.

“It’s definitely going to be a nasty weekend on the coast, but if you are still going, you need to watch for common sense things like rip currents and other things, bigger waves than normal,” Kemp said.

The speedway can accommodate hundreds of people who need a place to camp out.

Over the last few years Atlanta Motor Speedway has opened its grounds to hundreds of people seeking refuge from powerful storms.

During Hurricane Irma in 2017, the Speedway hosted more than 100 campers; in 2018 dozens more stayed in the Speedway's camping areas during Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

But not everyone is avoiding Florida as it braces for power rain and wind.

“When you promise kids a trip to Disney, it is not something you cancel,” said mother Erin Payne.

Payne said a friend and her three kids have been planning for Disney world for six months and didn't want to let the threat of a hurricane get in the way.

“There's still a bit of uncertainty of where it's going to hit when it's going to hit and we thought we could get a couple of good days in and keep an eye on the weather,” Payne said.