His declaration allows the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in 30 counties in the state.
The announcement comes one day after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered a mandatory evacuation for coastal areas starting Saturday. He also ordered up to 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on active duty.
The National Hurricane Center's forecast track for Hurricane Irma indicates the storm's eye could pass over the Florida-Georgia border late Monday or early Tuesday. The storm was a Category 4 on Friday afternoon, but was expected to weaken to a Category 2 or Category 1 by time it enters Georgia.
"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Irma," Deal said Thursday. "I encourage all Georgians in our coastal areas that could be impacted by this storm to evacuate the area as soon as possible."