ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for several Georgia counties ahead of Hurricane Dorian on Thursday. It's a phrase that gets attention, but it's important to look at the reasons behind it.

Dorian is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane sometime early next week. While the exact path is not yet clear, current forecast tracks put it somewhere in Florida, but the "cone of uncertainty" extends to the Georgia coast.

The state of emergency was officially declared in these counties: Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce and Wayne.

In the order, Kemp writes, "due to downed trees, power lines and debris, Georgia's network of roads may be rendered impassable in the affected counties, isolating residences and persons from access to essential public services."

RELATED: Hurricane Dorian: Spaghetti models, tracking maps and more

It should be noted that just because the state of emergency order was given, it doesn't mean that those counties will be impacted. As noted last year during Hurricane Florence, the order gives the state flexibility. Declaring a state of emergency gives the governor and his emergency management team extra latitude to deal with a situation quickly.

This happens when a significant event may require state aid go along with local resources. It also speeds up assistance to communities in need, and allows additional resources that will help provide essential services, such as evacuations, shelters, and rescues, as needed.

RELATED: Dorian latest forecast 

This particular order also makes special point to note that "price gouging of goods and services necessary to support" response and recovery efforts are prohibited. 

Price Gouging is defined by LegalDictionary.com as "The practice of raising prices on certain types of goods and services to an unfair level, especially during a state of emergency."

According to the Georgia Consumer Protection Division, "Price increases on goods or services are permitted only if they accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer's average markup percentage applied during the ten days immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency."

Click here to report price gouging.

So the main takeaway from the state of emergency: Georgia could be impacted by Dorian, and it's better to be prepared and ready to respond quickly than be sorry. It's advice applicable to both the state and individuals. 

With that in mind, we have these resources:

How to prepare for a hurricane before it arrives

Protect your windows and home during a hurricane

Hurricane categories: Explaining how these storms are measured

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