Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), in its initial Hurricane Irma press conference, says if the current forecast track remains accurate, the Savannah area should expect possible Category 3 or even Category 4 winds lasting 12-14 hours, with a high-tide storm surge between 10-15 feet, beginning at about 8 a.m. Monday.
Any evacuation order is likely to come either Friday or Saturday. After confusion during Hurricane Matthew, there will no longer be a "voluntary evacuation." There will only be two evacuation levels, General and Mandatory. The first is based on personal discretion, and the second is "by executive order."
All evacuation decisions will be made at the local level, specifically by Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott, as was the case last year.
CEMA says it is working harder to "be in lockstep" with the state of Georgia during this emergency. The agency came under criticism last year for appearing to be at odds with evacuation orders issues by Gov. Deal.