Obama calls on residents in hurricane's path to prepare for worst

This story has been updated.

President Obama called on all those in the path of oncoming Hurricane Irene to take precautions now. "Don't wait, don't delay, we all hope for the best and prepare for the worst," the president said on Friday, speaking from his vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

Obama said all indications point to Irene being "a historic hurricane.... I cannot stress this highly enough: if you are in the projected path of the hurricane, you have to take precautions now."

The president said he's been speaking to the governors of the states along the Eastern Seaboard. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed teams up and down the coast, Obama said, and has millions of liters of water, along with cots, blankets, and other emergency supplies.

But the president stressed the best course of action for anyone in harm's way is to get out.

"If you are given an evacuation order, please follow it," he said, adding that an aircraft carrier had been ordered out to sea on Thursday to avoid the approaching storm. The government, Obama said, has been preparing for Irene for more than a week.

Obama himself and the first family will cut their vacation short by several hours, leaving Friday night instead of Saturday morning, according to the White House.

Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, but hurricane watches and warnings were posted for North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and New England. Residents have been put on notice to prepare for the worst.

On Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered an evacuation of city residents who live in low-lying areas-the first such evacuation in history. Public transportation in New York will begin an orderly shutdown at noon on Saturday.

Obama said he convened a conference call with senior members of his emergency management team earlier on Friday and "directed them to make sure that we are bringing all federal resources to bear and deploying them properly to cope not only with the storm but also its aftermath."

"I've also spoken this morning with governors and mayors of major metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard to let them know that this administration is in full support of their efforts to prepare for this storm and stands ready to fully support their response efforts," he added.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters on Friday that the federal government is taking the storm "very seriously." "This is a serious hurricane. It has already caused significant damage in Puerto Rico and elsewhere," she said.

Washington and the surrounding Virginia and Maryland areas should be prepared for power outages, heavy rain, strong winds and potential flash floods, said FEMA chief W. Craig Fugate. He said power outages could last days in more rural areas, adding that there could be flooding along the Potomac River.

The American Red Cross is also mobilizing its assets. Gail McGovern, Red Cross president and chief executive officer, said her organization is anticipating the storm will affect a "huge geographical area" and that it could take "weeks, maybe even months" to fully respond to damage and needs.

She said the Red Cross is ready to serve 250,000 meals a day, which could be increased to 1 million, and has 15,000 shelters in the affected area.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.