ST. SIMONS, Ga. - Hurricane Ian made its first of two expected landfalls on Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa, Florida. The catastrophic hurricane is expected to tear through Central Florida and emerge in the Atlantic by late Thursday evening as a tropical storm. If Ian's track holds, it will then set its sights on Coastal Georgia and the Carolinas by Friday.
Gov. Brian Kemp has issued a state of emergency for all Georgia counties as the state prepares for Hurricane Ian's arrival.
The cone of uncertainty shows Ian's path moving through Coastal Georgia counties such as Camden, Glynn, McIntosh, Liberty, Bryan and Chatham.
Officials predicted on Wednesday the storm would make its way through Georgia on Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. Brunswick and Savannah are two of the coastal cities preparing for storm surge from Hurricane Ian, which could range from four to six inches with tropical-storm-force winds.
Rough surf on St. Simons ahead of Hurricane Ian
On St. Simons Island, residents are taking the storm threat seriously.
Rough surf along East Beach on St. Simons Island has forced red flags to be flown warning people not to swim ahead of Hurricane Ian on Sept. 28, 2022. (FOX 5)
Chris Hart, the owner of the local Ace Hardware says he has been busy the last few days, and they are running out of supplies.
Customers have been buying batteries, flashlights, extension cords, and sandbags. He says the store is running out of everything.
"We're trying to get an emergency order in right now, but it will be coming from Alabama off I-10 and we don't know if we're going to be able to get it," said Hart.
While there are no mandatory evacuation orders in place and many are preparing to ride out the storm.
"We were debating whether to leave or not, even though there's not a mandatory evacuation," said resident Cathy McCall. "I'm concerned about the wind and the tornadoes and flooding and everything."
On East Beach, many folks were out checking the sights along the coast before conditions deteriorate.
Red Flags were flying Wednesday due to strong rip currents and rough surf. Conditions are expected to worsen over the next 24 hours.
"The waves are little bit higher. The riptides are a big problem right now. You can actually see a few of them, life if you look at the birds over there, they are fighting the wind over there right now. But it looks like this every other hurricane," one man who was out on the beach said.
A county-run sandbag distribution site was forced to close around 1:30 p.m. after they ran out of sand.
Residents and business owners were also covering windows with plywood to protect them from flying debris.
"I’m not really super concerned about it. It will kind of wear itself down a little bit but I kind of see this as prime napping weather honestly," one woman taking a walk on the island said.
Hurricane Ian forces Georgia Coastal closures
Officials are planning to close the Talmadge Bridge over the Savannah River and the Sidney Lanier Bridge over the Brunswick weather to traffic on Thursday.
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools and Glynn County Schools will be closed Thursday and Friday.
The Jekyll Island Authority will be closing its administrative offices and facilities including camping will be suspended or closed through Oct. 1.
The storm has been trending more to the east over the past few updates, meaning it could impact the Carolinas more than south Georgia.
There are scenarios in which Ian's path moves west along Georgia's eastern border with South Carolina, affecting counties between Augusta and Savannah and some Northeast Georgia counties.
It's early in the forecast of this intense storm, and meteorologists are still uncertain how strong the storm will be if it reaches Georgia. Keep up with the latest by downloading the FREE FOX 5 Storm Team app and following @FOX5StormTeam on Twitter.
FOX 5 Atlanta will be live with the latest this week from Coastal Georgia.