Georgia governor orders evacuation of Savannah, coast ahead of Irma

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Gov. Ray Cooper declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon. The powerful storm, now at Category 5, is expected to reach SC late Monday. Jose formed well to the east of Irma and was not expected to pose an immediate threat to land, though it's too early to accurately predict the storm's path. Katia formed in the gulf, off the coast of Mexico.

Here's a closer look at how Georgia and the Carolinas are preparing for Irma.

"We can't save you once the storm starts", said Scott. "The effects will be very widespread with rain and wind outside the projected track".

In a statement, the Governor's Office said Deal was acting on a recommendation from the state's Emergency Operations Command.

State emergency officials said they don't want people to panic but want those in hurricane-prone areas to be prepared.

In the meantime, he urged South Carolinians to look up their evacuation zones and check for established evacuation routes for their communities.

Cooper added that many North Carolinians still lack a permanent home after being displaced by Hurricane Matthew past year, and they will need to be cared for.

Livingston said 800 National Guardsmen have been activated to assist with planning and lane reversals. The executive order also authorized up to 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on state active duty to support Hurricane Irma response and recovery.