The City of Atlanta will open its emergency join operations center at 7 p.m. tonight ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Mayor Kasim Reed said during a late afternoon press conference that he was most concerned about dangerous wind speeds, downed power lines and flooding.
All of metro Atlanta is under a tropical storm warning, with Irma’s winds and rain expected to arrive Monday morning and continuing into Tuesday. Schools and universities have have cancelled classes and many city offices and courts will also be closed.
“We’ve already had some wind today and it damaged a building in Downtown,” Reed said, referencing part of the facade falling from the 34 Peachtree building near Woodruff Park.
“The city is mobilizing for a full and vigorous response to wind, rain and flooding,” Reed said.
He said city Department of Public Works crews were out picking up loose debris and clearing drains. The mayor asked residents to store their trash bins and other outdoor items. “I’m worried that items left outside will be picked up by the wind and turned into dangerous projectiles,” Reed said.
The mayor said the city is in discussion with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the FAA and airlines about service. “Before you go to the airport, double-check departures and that the airport is open,” Reed said.
MARTA has suspended all bus and rail service for Monday, while the Atlanta Streetcar has closed and the overhead lines are being de-energized.
Emergency shelters will be open tonight, including the main one at Central Avenue. Reed said the Red Cross and Salvation Army would be working with those who need refuge and the homeless. In addition, Reed said city work crews were making contact with the homeless and giving them information and offering them rides to the shelter.
The city is encouraging residents to sign up with NotifyATL for emergency alerts.
For more safety tips and information about the tropical storm warning, visit this link.