TYBEE ISLAND, GA – Ahead of the projected arrival of Hurricane Irma, Tybee Island is currently under a mandatory evacuation.
Mayor Jason Buelterman urged residents to leave the island out of caution. “Highway 80 is supposed to be covered in water around the time of high tide tomorrow morning,” he said. “And then again 12 hours later tomorrow night, and then Sunday it’s going to be far worse because of the water level rise from Irma.”
The city all but shut down as crews boarded up hotels, businesses and homes on Friday. The beach was nearly empty, but the few visitors on the island told News 3 they are heading back up north away from the storm.
“We didn’t even know about the storm and then when we came. People started boarding up buildings and everything we decided we’re going to head out tomorrow morning or maybe tonight even,” said William Durso from Chicago.
Although Mayor Buelterman knows that not everyone is planning to evacuate the island, he wants residents and visitors to be aware of the risk.
“So the worst case scenario is that it veers back this way and there are a lot of people here who decided not to leave until Sunday and they find themselves in a situation where they cannot get off the island, that’s my biggest fear,” said Mayor Buelterman.
Buelterman said there is not a plan to allow for contraflow on Highway 80 and the only way that the highway would shutdown would be due to flooding and storm damage.
Stay with News 3 for the latest.