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Southeast Georgia braces for Hurricane Elsa’s approach

July 7, 2021 GMT
This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 5:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Elsa in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Elsa is strengthening and could became a hurricane before making landfall along Florida's north Gulf coast. In addition to damaging winds and heavy rains, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes, (NOAA via AP)
This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 5:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Elsa in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Elsa is strengthening and could became a hurricane before making landfall along Florida's north Gulf coast. In addition to damaging winds and heavy rains, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes, (NOAA via AP)
This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 5:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Elsa in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Elsa is strengthening and could became a hurricane before making landfall along Florida's north Gulf coast. In addition to damaging winds and heavy rains, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes, (NOAA via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — The portion of the Georgia coast south of Brunswick is under a tropical storm warning, with forecasters expecting Hurricane Elsa to bring tropical storm conditions with sustained winds of 40 mph to 50 mph in parts of southeast Georgia.

Tropical storm winds will likely occur as far north as Savannah and will arrive sometime during the day Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency Tuesday affecting 92 counties in middle, south and southeast Georgia in preparation for the storm.

A tropical storm watch is posted for the northern portion of the Georgia coast and most of the South Carolina coast, with storm conditions a possibility in those areas through early Thursday. No storm surge is predicted in Georgia, although high waves, heavy surf and beach erosion are possible, as well as isolated tornadoes.

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Elsa’s heaviest rains could come in Georgia and South Carolina, with forecasters predicting 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rainfall with isolated areas up to 8 inches (20 centimeters). Heavy rain was already falling in some areas of southeast Georgia on Tuesday evening.

In Glynn County, which includes Brunswick and St. Simons Island, officials urged people to prepare and stay off the roads. School summer programs, public pools and some courts announced plans to close, but Brunswick and Glynn County said they would keep their other offices open Wednesday.

If winds are high enough, the Georgia Department of Transportation could close bridges to St. Simons Island and a high-rise bridge going south out of Brunswick. Interstate 95 is unlikely to be affected, though.

“We’re looking at the potential onset of tropical storm gust winds Wednesday into the afternoon,” Glynn County Emergency Management Agency Director Alec Eaton told the Brunswick News on Tuesday. “By Wednesday night, the storm should be north of us. Right now, we’re basically looking at a cloudy, rainy and windy day. I feel confident we can sit down and let it pass over us without any major impacts. Hopefully.”

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said state officials are actively monitoring Elsa, with some coastal counties opening emergency operations centers. Georgia Power Co. says it’s ready to respond to any power outages.