Update: Atlanta under tropical storm warning, power outages reported

Tropical Storm Irma as shown at National Weather Service radar.

The outer bands of what is now Tropical Storm Irma have reached Metro Atlanta and there are already nearly 3,000 people were without power locally at just before 9:30 a.m.  In South Georgia, more than 200,000 had already lost power as wind and rain knocked down tress and power lines. You can follow Georgia Power’s outage map at this link to check your area. Mayor Kasim Reed said the city is preparing for wind damage, flooding and power outages.

All of Atlanta’s schools and universities are closed today, and many government offices are as well. MARTA has suspended all bus and rail service for Monday, Sept. 11.

WSB-TV is expecting Irma to bring sustained winds of 40 mph and guesting to 60 mph, along with three to six inches of rain that could cause flooding. There’s also a chance for isolated tornadoes.

There was no bottled water at the Kroger at Sage Hill Shopping Center on Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy Malory Mibab)

Residents should make basic preparations to go without power or water for 72 hours, local city and county governments say. Outdoor items should also be secured so they don’t blow around and cause more damage.

Evacuees from Florida and the Georgia coast have made their way to metro Atlanta. Hotels are filled, some gas stations were reporting empty pumps and many supermarkets were out of water and other essentials.

General storm preparation tips

The following are basic storm preparation tips from various government sources:

    • Make a communications and meeting plan: Have a plan for how family members or other loved ones will safely meet and stay in contact if a disaster happens while you are separated.
    • Make a three-day “ready kit”: Collect any supplies needed to go at least three days (72 hours) without power or water, and any important documents you might need if evacuation is required. Basic supplies include water (at least 1 gallon per day per day person), non-perishable food, first aid items, prescription medicines, and extra clothing and blankets. If you have pets, remember to include their food, water, medicine and a safe way to store and carry them.
    • Stay informed: A battery-powered radio is a good way to get communications if the power goes out. Make sure cellphones are fully charged before the storm arrives.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency has a website about making a disaster preparation plan at ready.ga.gov. GEMA also offers a cellphone app that offers planning advice as well as automatic emergency alerts.

Local emergency alert systems

Several local governments offer automatic emergency alerts and information via phone, email or text. Some auto alerts in local communities include those below; click on the names for a link.

Atlanta: NotifyATL

Decatur: Smart911

DeKalb County: CodeRED

Fulton County: CodeRED

Collin Kelley contributed to this article.

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