BRUNSWICK — The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday issued a tropical storm watch for the southern half of Georgia's 100-mile coast, which could be hit by strong wind and heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Hermine heading into Labor Day weekend.
The watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours from south of Darien, Georgia, to St. Augustine, Florida. The watch area includes the coastal Georgia cities of Brunswick and St. Marys.
According to a release from Bulloch County Emergency Management Director Ted Wynn Wednesday, GEMA/Homeland Security and the National Weather Service at Charleston held conference calls late Wednesday afternoon to discuss possible impacts and actions.
He said that beginning around 5 a.m. Friday, there would be the possibility of downed trees and localized flooding in the area south of I-16 as the storm moves through.
Wynn said he and Bulloch County Board of Education Chief Operations Officer Paul Webb would begin to make considerations of any modifications in school activities after this morning’s 5 a.m. update on the storm from the National Weather Service.
Wynn said he didn’t anticipate any changes for school activities, but allowed that some Friday night football games along the coast might be affected. He did say that host teams would take the lead on any decisions, but that safety would be put first.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm will track over Southeast Georgia Thursday and Friday, bringing heavy rains and winds of 30 to 40 mph, causing downed trees and powerlines.
On Wednesday evening, the Global Forecast System, one of the more accurate weather models the NWS employs, showed the storm passing directly over the Bulloch County area, but the predicted path of the storm is subject to change over time.
The National Park Service said it plans to close Cumberland Island to visitors starting Thursday afternoon. Popular with campers and nature lovers, the island and its roughly 15 square miles of federally protected wilderness are scheduled to reopen Saturday morning unless there's significant storm damage, the park service said in a news release.
A tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico strengthened into a tropical storm Wednesday. Hermine was forecast to make landfall Thursday night or Friday morning along the northwest coast of Florida. The storm is expected to cross northern Florida and southeast Georgia on Friday.
The hurricane center says coastal Georgia could get 4 to 7 inches of rain, with up to 10 inches possible in some areas. Sustained winds topping 39 mph are also possible.