SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – With Savannah now in the northern portion of Hurricane Dorian’s five-day cone, Chatham County emergency officials are recommending residents review their own emergency plans.
As of Wednesday morning, the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) entered their Enhanced Monitoring Phase, meaning that they are watching each advisory and posting regular updates online.
The agency says that of the 300,000 people living in Chatham County, only about 5,000 are signed up for CEMA alerts. Those messages could be the key to keeping you and your family safe during severe weather.
“Some of the things we could be pushing out are tropical weather updates,” said Chelsea Sawyer with CEMA. “We could say, ‘Hey this is Tropical Storm Dorian, this is what we are expecting and here some potential impacts we might see in Chatham County.'”
When necessary, the agency will push real-time updates through its alert system. Signing up is fairly easy:
- Text “Add 2641748” to 99538. You’ll receive a text from Swift911 saying you are subscribed. Keep in mind, this will only allow you to receive text alerts.
- If you receive an error message for text alerts, or if you want to receive phone calls or emails instead, visit CEMA’s site here and create your own Swift911 account (or enter your login information if you’ve previously registered). Fill out the form as needed and submit. You’ll need to then verify your email address. Then, go back to Swift911 to add “1 CEMA Alert” to your subscriptions.
“You can receive alerts year-round about flood advisories; if something is going to happen that is winter weather-related,” said Sawyer. “We send alerts out all the time that are a little more catered to Chatham County that isn’t necessarily about these major storms coming through.”
For those with functional, access or medical needs, who may need extra time to evacuate before a storm, CEMA and the Chatham County Department of Public Health have a registry just for you.
Sawyer said its important to check whether you qualify for that registry as soon as possible. Those who do register and meet the criteria will be placed on the registry and evacuated when there is a serious threat of a hurricane.
Lastly, CEMA reminds residents to “know your zone.” The agency introduced evacuation maps in 2017 to include three different zones:
- Zone A includes the area east of the Truman Parkway to the coast
- Zone B includes the area from I-95 to the Truman Parkway
- Zone C stretches from I-95 to the county line
If you’re unsure about where you fall, the agency has provided an interactive online map.
For residents in Chatham County and beyond, WSAV News 3 has resources for you to stay storm ready. Download our Storm Team 3 Hurricane Guide here and make sure you have our news and weather mobile apps for the latest stories and alerts throughout the season.