SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The Latest on Hurricane Irma preparations in Georgia and neighboring states (all times local):
Georgia officials have decided a one-way escape route for coastal residents fleeing Hurricane Irma isn't needed after all.
State troopers had all lanes of Interstate 16 heading westbound out of Savannah on Saturday morning. But traffic on the route was light and Gov. Nathan Deal ordered that eastbound lanes return to normal use just eight hours later.
Officials adjusted the evacuation plan for Irma as forecasts shifted the storm's predicted path further westward. Forecasts call for Irma's center to arrive far inland in southern Georgia on Monday after it churns up the west coast of Florida.
Roughly 540,000 coastal Georgia residents are under evacuation orders. Many left before Saturday, while others have decided to stay.
Georgia is bracing for potentially far-flung impacts from Hurricane Irma, which forecasters say could swamp the coast with storm surge near Savannah and topple trees and power lines in Atlanta.
The National Hurricane Center placed the entire Georgia coast under a hurricane watch Saturday as residents packed their cars and trickled onto the highways in six counties under a mandatory evacuation. A hurricane watch was also issued for the South Carolina coast from the Georgia line to Edisto Beach, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Charleston.
Irma's center is forecast to enter southern Georgia far inland Monday and plow northward as a tropical storm or depression. Emergency officials expect tropical storm winds to reach Georgia's coast, where storm surges could be amplified by unusually high tides.
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