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GDOT Evacuation Routes


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Hurricane season 2023 officially begins on June 1 and runs until November 30. Coastal Georgia's forecasts cover the Atlantic Basin—the area encompassing the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.  Every year, several hurricane forecasts are issued from April to August the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) When it comes to hurricanes, there are many indicators related to atmospheric and oceanic conditions that indicate what to expect.  Just remember: It only takes one hurricane making landfall! As coastal residents, we should be prepared for every hurricane - every season.


NOAA predicts a near-normal 2023 Atlantic hurricane season

El Nino, above-average Atlantic Ocean temperatures set the stage

May 25, 2023

NOAA forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, predict near-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year. NOAA’s outlook for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which goes from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA has a 70% confidence in these ranges.


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 Forecast for 2023 Hurricane Activity

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+A measure of a named storm’s potential for wind and storm surge destruction defined as the sum of the square of a named storm’s maximum wind speed (in 104 knots2) for each 6-hour period of its existence.

2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook Summary
Forecast Parameter and 1991–2020 Average (in parentheses)
Issue Date 13 April 2023
Named Storms (NS) (14.4) 13
Named Storm Days (NSD) (69.4) 55
Hurricanes (H) (7.2) 6
Hurricane Days (HD) (27.0) 25
Major Hurricanes (MH) (3.2) 2
Major Hurricane Days (MHD) (7.4) 5
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) (123) 100
CSU Tropical Cyclone Impact Probabilities


We are using a new methodology for calculating the impacts of tropical cyclones for each state and county/parish along the Gulf and East Coasts, tropical cyclone-prone provinces of Canada, Atlantic-facing states of coastal Mexico, islands in the Caribbean and countries in Central America. We have used NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks website and selected all named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes that have tracked within 50 miles of each landmass from 1880-2020. This approach allows for tropical cyclones that may have tracked through an immediately adjacent region to be counted for all regions that were in close proximity to the location of the storm. We then fit the observed frequency of storms within 50 miles of each landmass using a Poisson distribution to calculate the climatological odds of one or more events within 50 miles. Net landfall probability is shown to be linked to the overall Atlantic basin Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE). A measure of a named storm’s potential for wind and storm surge destruction defined as the sum of the square of a named storm’s maximum wind speed (in 104 knots2) for each 6-hour period of its existence. Long-term statistics show that, on average, the more active the overall Atlantic basin hurricane season is, the greater the probability of U.S. hurricane landfall. Use the drop-down to obtain the climatological odds of storms tracking within 50 miles of each state along the Gulf and East Coasts along with the odds for the current season based on the latest forecast. All of the calculations are also available in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Tropical Cyclone Impact Probabilities for Coastal Georgia
(defined as one or more storms within 50 miles of location)

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Tropical Weather Track 

National Hurricane Center - Miami, FL.

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Tornadoes Banner
A Tornado is a violent rotating column of wind speeds that can reach over 200 mph. They are normally formed in thunderstorms. Tornadoes are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like deadly projectiles. Tornadoes can occur at any time of day or night and at any time of the year.  Although tornadoes are most common in the central plains and the southeastern U.S., sometimes refered to as Tornado Alley, they have been reported in all 50 states. 


Tornado Watch /Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS)

Tornado Watch:  Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area.  Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!  Watches are issued by the NWS-Charleston for the Fort Stewart-HAAF surrounding areas. 
Tornado Warning:  Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. Warnings are issued by NWS-Charleston and relayed out by local media, Stewart-Hunter emergency alert system, sirens and loudspeakers. 
 Be prepared! Don't let Tornadoes Take You by Surprise

Be Weather-Ready:

Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.

Create a Communications Plan:

Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related 'what to do if...' information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a concrete or brick structure.

Pick a safe room in your home:

A safe room can be a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Make your family plan at:

Practice Your Plan:

Conduct a family severe weather drill regularly, so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know where to go, when tornado warnings are issued. Don't forget your pets.

Prepare Your Home:

Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior space on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website

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Lightning Banner
Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge between two opposed electrically charged regions of atmosphere or ground that temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of as much as a gigajoule of energy.  A gigajoule is equal to one billion joules. That enough energy to make a navy aircraft carrier pass an F-15 in flight on afterburner!  


Lightning Safety

The best way for you to protect yourself from lightning is to avoid it. You simply don’t want to be caught outside in a thunderstorm.  Have a plan and cancel or postpone outdoor activities early, if thunderstorms are expected.  Watch the weather conditions and get inside before the weather becomes threatening.  Houses, public buildings and hard-topped vehicles are safe options.  Rain shelters, small sheds, and open vehicles are not safe. When inside, do not touch anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet, plumbing, and corded phones. Cell phones and cordless phones are okay, but keep away from outside doors and windows and do not lie on a garage floor.

Lightning Threat

The probability of someone being struck by lightning depends on their behavior when thunderstorms are present. People are struck by lightning because they don't think there is a danger or they have plenty of time to react. The threat of lightning increases as a thunderstorm approaches, reaches a peak when the storm is overhead, and then gradually diminishes as the storm moves away. It’s people’s behavior that determines the risk of a fatal lightning strike. While some people move inside at the first signs of a thunderstorm, many people wait too long to get to a safe place. Some wait until the thunderstorm is overhead and it starts to rain. Others are caught outside and can’t get to a safe place. Although most people get inside, some put themselves at risk by touching items that could become electrified by a nearby lightning strike. As the storm passes, people go outside too soon, sometimes only waiting for the rain to become lighter or end. It is all of these unsafe behaviors that put people at risk when thunderstorms are in the area.  If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Just remember, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” 

Minimizing Lightning Risk

To minimize your personal risks of being struck by lightning when going outside, plan ahead, so that you can get to a safe place quickly, if a thunderstorm threatens. If the sky looks threatening or if you hear thunder, get inside a safe place immediately. Once inside, avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, plumbing, windows and doors. Finally, wait 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or thunder before going back outside. If everyone followed these simple rules, the number of lightning casualties in this country could be greatly reduced. 

Lightning Strike Victims

If someone is struck by lightning, they need immediate medical attention. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to touch. Call 911 and monitor the victim. Start CPR or use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if needed. Treat for shock if necessary.
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Flooding Banner
Floods / Flash floods/ Coastal flooding
Heavy rainfall can cause localized flooding in low lying areas and can occur during any season, if heavy rainfall occurs. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” is a warning from the National Weather Service (NWS) to not walk, wade or drive thru standing water.

  Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield 

Here in the Coastal Georgia area, coastal floods are caused by extreme sea level, which arise as combinations of four main factors: waves, astronomical tides, storm surges and relative mean sea level. The additional influence of river discharge may also be important in some estuaries.  A storm surge is a short-lived, large-scale rise in water level driven by low atmospheric pressure and strong winds associated with tropical and sub-tropical storms and enhanced locally by coastal topography. The worst coastal flooding occurs when the peak storm surge coincides with high Spring tide. Local or remote storms produce large wind or swell waves, which can overtop coastal defenses/beaches and cause flooding and erosion.  When a local watch is issued by the NWS in Charlieston, SC, you should begin to gather more information about the situation and determine what actions you will need to take.  
Take action when a watch, warning and advisory are issued:

Flash Flood Watch

A Flash Flood Watch is issued to indicate current or developing conditions that are favorable for flash flooding. The occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. A watch is typically issued within several hours to days ahead of the onset of possible flash flooding.

Flood Watch

A Flood Watch is issued to indicate current or developing conditions that are favorable for flooding. The occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. A watch is typically issued within several hours to days ahead of the onset of possible flooding. In situations where a river or stream is expected to be the main source of the flooding, forecast confidence may allow for a Flood Watch to be issued several days in advance.

Flash Flood Warning

A Flash Flood Warning is issued to inform the public, emergency management and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. Flash Flood Warnings are urgent messages as dangerous flooding can develop very rapidly with a serious threat to life and/or property. Flash Flood Warnings are usually issued minutes to hours in advance of the onset of flooding.

Flood Warning

A Flood Warning is issued to inform the public of flooding that poses a serious threat to life and/or property. A Flood Warning may be issued hours to days in advance of the onset of flooding based on foretasted conditions. Floods occurring along a river usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.

Flood Advisory

A Flood Advisory is issued when a flood event warrants notification but is less urgent than a warning. Advisories are issued for conditions that could cause a significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Coastal/Lake shore Hazard Message

Coastal/Lake shore Hazard Message provide the public with detailed information on significant coastal/lake shore events. Coastal/Lake shore events impact land-based and near shore interests along much of the United States coastline. This product can be issued as a watch, warning or advisory and follows the same "Be Aware, Be Prepared, Take Action" definitions as with other National Weather Service (NWS) Watches, Warnings and Advisories (WWA). A Watch is issued when flooding with significant impacts is possible. Warnings are issued when flooding posing a serious threat to life and property is occurring, imminent or highly likely.

Special Weather Statement

Special Weather Statements provide the public with information concerning ongoing or imminent weather hazards, which require a heightened level of awareness or action, but do not rise to the level of watch, warning or advisory.

"Be Aware" when these products are issued:

–Hydrologic Outlook

Two types:

1. Short-term (1 to 7 days) Hydrologic Outlooks can be issued to alert thepublic of the potential for flooding in the near-term such as when heavyrainfall is forecast that could result in flooding or aggravate an existingflood if it occurs.

2. Long-term (weeks to months) Hydrologic Outlooks may also provide river orreservoir level and/or flow information. This information could be used forwater supply concerns or projection of snowmelt flooding.

–Hazardous Weather Outlook

TheHazardous Weather Outlook is a single source of information regarding expectedhazardous weather through seven days. It can include information on severestorms, heavy rain, flooding, tropical storms, winter weather, high winds, fireweather and marine hazards.

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After The Storm

After the Storm
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Post Storm Events
After a severe storm assess your situation. If you did not evacuate account for yourself and family members. Notify authorities of your condition, location and any safety issues. Military, DoD Civilians and dependents contact the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS). Contact distant family or friends. Let them know you’re ok, location and plans, but don’t hang on the phone (might not be able to charge your mobile phone for some time).
As soon as any severe weather event has past (with in hours) local authorities surge emergence services composed of fire police units to assess local environmental hazards. The units look for any hazard that creates a danger to the population and damage to infrastructure.  The will be looking for people needing help, any fire, structure damage, high water, power lines down, roads blocked, bridges damaged and loss of local utilities. The emergency services is normally heavy engaged post storm so if you are safe. Stay put and remain vigilant.
If you did evacuate the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency has stated a five phase re-entry for affected areas. (
It is recommended:
  • ·        Continue listening to your local radio station for news and the latest updates.
  • ·        If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • ·        Once home, drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks that might collapse.
  • ·        Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.
  • ·        Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building, if the building or home was damaged by fire, or if the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • ·        Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety.
  • ·        Use battery-powered flashlights. Do NOT use candles. Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building. The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
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Extream Weather Contacts

Information Source

Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System
Center for Disease Control and Prevention  
Colorado State University (CSU)
Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Evacuation Routes
Georgia Emergency Management-Homeland Security Agency
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Nation Weather Services (NWS) Charleston, SC.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac