• Traffic cones and directional signs at the intersection of Hwy. 341 and Hwy. 301 in Jesup were already in place Monday to help guide traffic fleeing the coast from the threat of Hurricane Dorian.
    Traffic cones and directional signs at the intersection of Hwy. 341 and Hwy. 301 in Jesup were already in place Monday to help guide traffic fleeing the coast from the threat of Hurricane Dorian.

Dorian’s impact projected to be minimal in county

The threat to the local area from Hurricane Dorian appeared to be lessening Tuesday morning, with minimal rainfall and a possibility of tropical storm gusts today (Wednesday), the Wayne County Emergency Services offices reported.

Wayne County schools will be closed through Thursday.

WCES Director Richard Johnson said that, in his Tuesday morning briefing, the Jacksonville National Weather Service predicted little impact from the storm in the county.

“They are saying that there’s a 30- to 40-percent chance of tropical-storm force winds in our area,” Johnson said, “and a zero chance of hurricane-force winds.”

He said county residents should plan, however, for the possibility of 39- to 57-mph gusts and 2-inches to 3-inches of rainfall through Wednesday.

“We have a high level of confidence in what they’re telling us,” he said. “Most likely we can expect less wind than this.”

As of Tuesday morning, plans were for Wayne County schools to remain closed until Friday. Friday night’s football game at Richmond Hill has been postponed to Nov. 1.

All other school functions have been cancelled or postponed through Thursday. Friday events may still be held.

Coastal Pines Technical College’s Jesup campus will be closed until Thursday, and the Golden Isles and Camden campuses will remain closed until Friday. All dual-enrollment classes on CPTC campuses are cancelled for Wednesday and Thursday.

According to the Jacksonville weather service, the storm, which has wreaked havoc in the Bahamas, was nearly stationary Tuesday morning, but was expected to begin moving in a north-northeast direction. The storm has weakened considerably, and was down to a category 2 by late Tuesday morning, but is spreading out.

Johnson said the Jacksonville office was expecting the storm to arrive in the Jacksonville area sometime between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The projections showed the storm taking a course parallel to the Florida/Georgia coastline Tuesday and Wednesday.

Coastal areas are expecting storm surges up to 7 feet, however, the Weather Service noted that small east-west changes in the track could have large influences on the threat levels for coastal and inland areas.

Johnson said that the weather service experts have been as “baffled” by Dorian’s behavior as the rest of us.

“The reason for that is that the projections are based on historical data,” he explained, “and there hasn’t been a category 5 hurricane that came from where this one came from.”

He also explained that as the storm has slowed down and weakened, it has begun to wobble.

“It’s just like a kid’s top,” he said. “When it slows down it wobbles.”

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order over the weekend for the mandatory evacuation east of I-95 in Camden, Glynn, McIntosh, Liberty, Bryan and Chatham counties.

Though Wayne County is not included in this order, it will likely see increased traffic on the highways.

No need for evacuation or shelters in the county was predicted on Tuesday, though reports are that some churches would be making facilities available in case of need.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coastal areas of these counties as well. The coastal counties are also working to evacuate vulnerable populations and long-term care facilities.

 

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