SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The Latest on Georgia's preparations for Hurricane Matthew (all times local):
Gov. Nathan Deal has ordered mandatory evacuations along the entire Georgia coast as Hurricane Matthew approaches. Sixty-five soldiers of the 178th Military Police Battalion are also being activated to help in Glynn and Chatham Counties.
Deal said Thursday that everyone east of Interstate 95 should flee Georgia's six coastal counties - Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden. Those counties have a combined population of more than 522,000 people.
The governor had asked coastal residents to evacuate on a voluntary basis Wednesday. He called for mandatory evacuations as the National Hurricane Center placed all 100 miles of coastal Georgia under a hurricane warning Thursday.
Officials say powerful winds and heavy rains from Matthew could begin to arrive in coastal Georgia late Thursday. The storm is forecast to pass Saturday.
The Georgia coast hasn't seen a hurricane evacuation since a near-miss with Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is turning Interstate 16 into a one-way evacuation route to handle motorists fleeing the path of Hurricane Matthew.
DOT spokeswoman Jill Nagel said a 125-mile stretch of I-16 between Savannah and Dublin would be affected, with the Georgia State Patrol routing all traffic westbound across all four lanes. Nagel says the change should happen later Thursday.
Nagel said it should help alleviate traffic from thousands of motorists fleeing inland not just from the Georgia coast but also from South Carolina and Florida.
Georgia hasn't turned I-16 into a one-way escape route since a near-miss with Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Officials on the Georgia coast are issuing new evacuation orders now that portions of the state are under a hurricane warning.
Threats from Hurricane Matthew caused commissioners in Glynn County to call for mandatory evacuations Thursday of all residents east of Interstate 95, including those in the city of Brunswick. Officials warned in a news release the county could see 60 mph winds, several feet of storm surge and 7 to 10 inches of rain.
The National Hurricane Center placed Glynn County and neighboring Camden County under a hurricane warning. Forecasts call for the storm to pass dangerously close to the Georgia coast late Friday and Saturday.
McIntosh County also ordered mandatory evacuations Thursday. County manager Patrick Zoucks said he expects the hurricane warning to be extended to his county.
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