ATLANTA - State officials have asked everyone in Georgia to shelter in place through at least Tuesday as Hurricane Irma moves closer.
"Stay in place," said Governor Nathan Deal in a news conference Sunday evening. "Make sure that it's a secure place as much as you can do so and stay off the roads."
Earlier in the day, Governor Deal expanded his emergency declaration all of Georgia's 159 counties.
"One thing that has been pointed out to me is that unlike storms or certainly hurricanes of the past, this hurricane is so widespread that it will be very unlikely that we will see the same concentration in smaller areas of damage as we have seen in the past," the Governor said.
Except for essential employees, state offices are closed Monday and Tuesday and Deal urged schools and others to follow the state's lead.
Georgia has opened all its state parks to serve as shelters for evacuees and officials are coordinating with the Red Cross and other agencies to place as many people as possible.
There are 3,000 National Guard troops on standby across the state to assist where needed.
Even after the storm, Deal urged people not to get on the roads until state and local officials issue the all-clear. That will both protect citizens and give crews room to work.
"What we fight is if you have a storm event, access back into an area is the first problem," explained GEMA Director Homer Bryson. "So, we have teams in place that have the equipment to go in and saw up downed trees and whatever to clear the roadway to allow the utility companies to come in and get the power back on."
Governor Deal said President Donald Trump called him Sunday to let him know that federal resources are on standby should Georgia need them.