Thurs. 1:20 p.m.: Latest on Irma – Mandatory evacuation for Georgia’s coast

Winds brought by Hurricane Irma blow palm trees in Samana, Dominican Republic, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Irma is flooding parts of the Dominican Republic as it roars by just off the northern coast of the island it shares with Haiti. (AP Photo/Tatiana Fernandez)

Winds brought by Hurricane Irma blow palm trees in Samana, Dominican Republic, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Irma is flooding parts of the Dominican Republic as it roars by just off the northern coast of the island it shares with Haiti. (AP Photo/Tatiana Fernandez)

Georgia’s governor has ordered a mandatory evacuation starting on Saturday from the state’s Atlantic coast ahead of Hurricane Irma. That includes the city of Savannah.

Gov. Nathan Deal issued the evacuation today for all areas east of Interstate 95, all of Chatham County and some areas west of the interstate. He also expanded a state of emergency to 30 counties.

Deal’s order authorizes about 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on active duty to help people respond and recover.

Georgia hasn’t been hit by a hurricane with winds Category 3 or higher since 1898.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, also declared a state of emergency. A major strike there would be the first in nearly 28 years.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp says they’re getting badly needed federal help after Hurricane Irma significantly damaged St. Thomas and St. John with top winds of 150 mph for more than four hours. Fire and police stations collapsed and the main hospital in St. Thomas sustained heavy damage.

Mapp said authorities are distributing emergency food and water, tarps and other supplies, and evacuating hospital patients to Puerto Rico and elsewhere. A curfew remains in effect, including about 5,000 tourists.

And the governor is knocking down false reports that the government is confiscating firearms. He says that’s a misunderstanding of standard language used to activate the National Guard. He says he’s got hospitals breached, homes with roofs gone and police and fire stations that are blown away — he’s not interested in anybody’s firearms.

Four people are confirmed dead and about 50 injured on the Caribbean island of St. Martin in the wake of Hurricane Irma, according to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. One person faces life-threatening injuries and two others were in serious condition.

Philippe says large amounts of aid and equipment are en route to St. Martin and nearby St. Barts.

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