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As Irma heads toward Florida, local residents plan for bad weather

Although the path of Hurricane Irma remained uncertain Tuesday, many Grady countians began preparing anyway, clearing store shelves of water and filling their vehicles with gasoline. By Tuesday evening, many stores in Cairo were nearly sold out of bottled water. Grady County’s Emergency Management Director Richard Phillips said gathering emergency supplies is a positive first step.
Emergency supplies include bottled water, first aid kit and non-perishable food items. Grady County Sheriff Harry Young said people should collect enough canned goods and flashlight batteries to last up to 10 days in case of prolonged power outages.
Cairo Fire Chief Bill Schafer encouraged everyone to get those supplies this week.
To stay informed about Hurricane Irma, EMA Director Phillips suggests downloading the free mobile app Ready Georgia or visit the website, The Ready Georgia app will send out weather alerts, provide lists of open shelters and give live updates on traffic conditions. FEMA also has a mobile app.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has begun preparing for evacuees from Florida by opening all Interstate-75 northbound lanes, sweeping the road shoulders and checking storm drains for debris. In addition to I-75, there are other evacuation routes through Southwest Georgia for Floridians, including Highway 111 in Grady County, U.S. 19, U.S. 27 and U.S. 129.
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens also advises that homeowners should make copies of their insurance policies, obtain phone numbers for the insurance company, inventory personal belongings and keep the documents with them.
As of Tuesday night, Hurricane Irma was predicted to strike south Florida by Saturday and then the Southeast United States. “We’re going to be on standby and waiting to do all we can,” said Sheriff Young.

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