AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) –  Richmond County EMA said residents need to prepare to possibly get up to 6 inches of rain on Friday through Saturday.

This is enough water to cause loss of control of a vehicle. Paired with high winds caused by Hurricane Ian, this can lead to flash flooding, especially in low-lying areas below the Savannah River’s J. Strom Thurmond Dam, said Scott Hyatt, the operations project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the dam.

The EMA and Savannah Riverkeeper say people need to keep a three-day stock of food, water, medications, batteries and any other essentials – and to not drive if you can’t see the road under a layer of water.

“I have seen numbers of people through the years who did not think they were in a flood zone and they certainly weren’t required to have flood insurance,” said Tonya Bonitatibus, the executive director of Savannah Riverkeeper. “And they lost everything.”


For residents to keep themselves and their belongings safe, Bonitatibus said for people living in flood zones to evacuate before potentially being stranded for an extended period of time.

“It could go badly really quickly,” she said. “Just because you need rescuing doesn’t mean that there aren’t a thousand other people who need rescuing at the same time, which means you could be on your own riding out a storm.That’s not a great place to be.”

Possible power outages while being evacuated are also something to prepare for.

“Take a cup of water and put it in your freezer, freeze it, and stick a penny on the top of it,” Bonitatibus said. “If you come back and the penny is on the bottom of that ice, you know you have to throw everything in your freezer away.”

Community members can sign up for emergency notifications from the city of Augusta on its main website. They can also track the storm using WJBF’s LIVE VIPIR 6 app.