The declared state of emergency allows Georgia to "bring all state resources to bear to ensure a safe and quick recovery for all Georgia citizens," GEMA Director James C. Stallings said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The governor's declaration comes as Ian continued gaining strength while heading toward the Florida coast. As of Tuesday evening, the storm is a Category 3 hurricane moving northward at around 10 mph with winds of up to 120 mph.
Ian was forecast to strengthen even more over warm Gulf of Mexico waters, reaching top winds of 140 mph as it approaches Florida’s southwest coast. Tropical storm-force winds were expected across the southern peninsula late Tuesday, reaching hurricane force Wednesday morning.
Forecasters predict widespread rainfall between 2 and 4 inches with 4 to 6 inches expressed in southeast Georgia, which could cause flash flooding.
The state of emergency will go into effect at 7 a.m. on Thursday and expire at midnight on Friday.
A NOAA handout image taken by the GOES satellite shows Hurricane Ian as it moves toward western Cuba in the Caribbean Sea.. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)
Georgia has already activated its State Operations Center, which will coordinate with state, local, and federal agencies to prepare and respond to the impact of the storm on the Peach State.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in place for Georgia's Camden and Glynn Counties, and a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the remainder of the Georgia coast.
The governor urged all Georgians to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden have both already declared emergencies, with Biden's declaration authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property. FEMA has strategically positioned generators, millions of meals and millions of liters of water, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Officials say Georgians who end up in the path of the storm should prepare with GEMA's suggested guide to what residents should do before, during, and after a hurricane including making a family communications plan and evacuation plan and prepare a "Ready kit" in case of evacuation.
You can find all their suggested guidance on the GEMA website.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.