From CEMA: You can come home at 5pm, but use caution


CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. – The following message was released by Chatham Emergency Management Officials:

“Early this afternoon, Governor Nathan Deal lifted the mandatory evacuation order as of 5 p.m. today. At that time all citizens will be allowed to come back to Chatham County. Also at that time, the National Guard will begin allowing vehicles on to Tybee Island.

“The winds and rain of Hurricane Matthew may have passed, but danger still exists.” said County Manager Lee Smith. PROCEED WITH CAUTION AS YOU RETURN TO CHATHAM COUNTY, IF YOU ELECT TO RETURN TODAY.

“We strongly urge our citizens to wait until tomorrow as Tybee is without power,” said Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman. “Only people who have proof of residency or property ownership will be allowed on to the island.”

Since the winds and rain have subsided, damage assessment has rapidly occurred. Here are some areas of concern:

Return to Chatham County does not mean a return to normal conditions.  Many homes remain without power, some of which are damaged beyond the ability to reconnect.  Likewise, many homes do not have water.  No food can be purchased in Chatham County at this time.  Any perishable food in groceries stores would be ruined.  Likewise, you can expect the same of restaurants and anything left in most homes as the power failures lasted for extended periods.

Should stores open to sell non-perishable foods or other goods, then credit cards may not work.  BRING CASH.  There is no guarantee that bank systems or credit cards will work or that power will be available.

Bring what you need. Be prepared to be without supplies for three days.  Gas, diesel fuel, food, water, and other supplies are limited.  Likewise, if you decide or need to shelter with the Red Cross or other shelter, there is no guarantee that food or supplies will be available despite CEMA and Red Cross’s best efforts to provide all of these items.

Additionally, FEMA announced that it was declaring Chatham County a disaster area. With that declaration additional resources will be made available to Chatham County by federal authorities.


CEMA Director Dennis Jones said this morning that the “critical services necessary to support the general population of Chatham County” are largely in place and assessment is almost complete.  This announcement follows on the heels of Governor Nathan Deal announcing that he was lifting the state of emergency declared as Hurricane Matthew.


For updates on road closures within Chatham County, please check:

For updates on Red Cross shelters, please check:

For general updated from CEMA, please check:

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