President Barack Obama today urged those Americans affected by Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irene to stay vigilant and cautioned them that the impact of the storm would continue in the days to come.
Though Massachusetts has seen the worst of Tropical Storm Irene, more than 500,000 are wiithout power while others have been evacuated from their homes, had property damaged and streets flooded. Irene has whipped up winds and dumped rain along the east coast since yesterday. Though the storm is tapering off in New England and heading toward Canada, there is still concern about high tides tonight and possible flooding, even after Irene is gone.
Impact of Irene will be around after storm leaves says Obama
“This is not over,” Obama said.
“The impact of this storm will be felt for some time” and “the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer,” said Obama. The president stood with by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate as he spoke from the Rose Garden.
President concerned about power outages and flooding from “swollen rivers”
The president said emergency officials were “most concerned about lengthy power outages and flooding as swollen rivers begin to crest,” according to as Associated Press report.Obama asked those affected to follow the warnings of local officials. He also said that his administration would work with cities and states to make sure that “they were prepared to respond,” according to the Associated Press.
At least 18 people died in the storm and early damage estimates are in the billions of dollars. However, Obama said the impact of Irene could have been much higher without the preparation and coordination by FEMA and other emergency personnel.
“This has been an exemplary effort of how good government at every level should be responsive to people’s needs and work to keep them safe and protect and promote the nation’s prosperity,” the president said.
More flooding is possible and government officials said it will take several days before they can fully assess the storm’s damage.
Fugate said FEMA will work closely with the White House to determine what type of funds may be needed to help cities and states recover. Obama has already issued emergency declarations for most of the states hit by Irene, including North Carolina, Virginia and New York, in order to make federal resources available to support response efforts.
For more about Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irene, take a look at these articles from the Boston City Buzz
Irene dumps winds and rains in MA
MBTA suspends service due to Irene
Red Cross opens shelters for Irene victims
How businesses should prepare for Hurricane Irene
Obama meets with FEMA to discuss Irene
How to stay safe and prepare for Irene