Tybee Island preparing for Idalia impacts, Highway 80 expected to close Wednesday night

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 5:50 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Tybee Island leaders have several tips they want residents and visitors to know about Idalia.

The Tybee Fire Chief says they are flying purple and yellow flags Monday meaning there’s a medium hazard with some currents. Tybee public works has been doing their own preparations. There are sandbags they’ve gotten together as Tybee is expecting gusty winds, flooding and rip currents.

“This is my first rodeo you know.”

Dianne getting ready for her first named storm since she moved to Tybee.

“I’m afraid of getting water in so I’m getting some sandbags ready just in case.”

City leaders say sandbags will be available at Memorial Park starting Tuesday. Proof of Tybee Island residency is required to get them.

“Safety truly is our first priority.”

The only way on and off the island, Highway 80, is expected to close Wednesday night because of a 9.4 foot king tide expected, according to fire chief Jeremy Kendrick.

He says the timing of Idalia also falls on a blue moon, which usually means higher tides. Still no mandatory evacuations are expected.

Chief Kendrick says it’s time to decide if you want to evacuate.

“With us being on the coast, we have to move a little bit faster because we’re going to see that water before anybody else.”

If you plan to stay home, he says to make sure you have your insurance policy ready to go in case of flood damage. Plenty of water, food and other essentials will also go a long way as there can be power outages.

“If you need to get refills to prescriptions with your meds then go ahead and do it now. You might not be able to do it later. If you’re staying, charge your phones. Buy those portable chargers.”

Tybee Island Police Chief Tiffany Hayes says the island’s 911 center is prepared to stay open. They ask people to report any downed power lines.

“We’re going to do what we can do to ride the calls until it’s no longer safe to ride calls and please utilize 911 if you do have a life-threatening situation,” said Tybee Police Chief Hayes.

Chief Kendrick says a nursing home on the island is preparing to leave.

Chief Kendrick has the same message for visitors as residents - stay home as storm rolls through.