President Barack Obama delivered a sober warning to millions in the path of Hurricane Sandy on Monday, declaring that even though food, water and generators have been moved into position, "this is going to be a difficult storm" with long-term power and transportation outages possible.
In a direct appeal to those who live in harm's way, the president said, "Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Don't delay, don't pause, don't question the instructions that are being given because this is a powerful storm."
The president made his remarks in the White House briefing room eight days before the Nov. 6 election, and a few hours after he canceled a campaign appearance in Florida to return to Washington. He turned aside a question about the storm's impact on the campaign, saying safety was his top priority.
The huge storm posed a threat to an estimated 50 million people and some of the nation's most densely populated areas. Even before a nighttime projected landfall along the mid-Atlantic Coast, dire warnings of winds, rain and storm surges prompted officials to close mass transit systems in New York, Boston and Washington, as well as Connecticut's highways. The federal bureaucracy in Washington also was shuttered.
Obama said he had spoken with the governors of all the states likely to be affected, and he added there had been "extraordinarily close coordination" among various levels of government.
Yet he stressed repeatedly the dangers posed by the slow-moving storm, and said its effects would not dissipate quickly.
"The public should anticipate that there are going to be a lot of power outages," he said.
He added, "Transportation is going to be tied up for a long time. ... We anticipate that there are going to be a lot of trees down, a lot of water."
The president said, "We're making sure that food and water and emergency generation are available for communities" that need them.
Obama had been scheduled to make a campaign appearance in Florida before flying back to the nation's capital, but he scrapped those plans in favor of an immediate, bumpy flight aboard Air Force One.
Copyright Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Emmy Award-winning Steve Raleigh leads the 9 First Warning Weather team as Chief Meteorologist.
Meteorologist Larry Handley is a 9 First Warning Weather meteorologist who arrived at 9 On Your Side in April 1999.
Sherry Hughes came to 9 On Your Side in the fall of 2011.
Meteorologist Sarah Walters is so excited to return home to the Midwest and work at 9 On Your Side, the same station that she interned at in…
With another accumulating snowfall upon us, here's a reminder of some tips to keep you safe on the roads as you brave the elements.
Storm Shield is a life-saving app that is like a NOAA Emergency Weather Radio on your iPhone and Android.
A cool front washes out in the Tri-State later today and that means a pleasant Easter Weekend!
As severe weather rolls into the Tri-State, 9 News is on your side with information to help you plan around potentially hampering conditions.
A strengthening Hurricane Sandy disrupted the White House campaign Monday, with President Obama canceling two campaign days to monitor the…
More than 2,000 people displaced by Superstorm Sandy are still living in New York City hotels five months after the storm.
Three months after Superstorm Sandy ravaged coastal areas in much of the Northeast, Congress on Monday sent a $50.5 billion emergency relief…
More than 10 weeks after Superstorm Sandy brutalized parts of the heavily populated Northeast, the House approved $50.7 billion in emergency…
Conservatives and watchdog groups are mounting a "not-so-fast" campaign against a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package. They say lots…
Conservatives and watchdog groups are mounting a "not-so-fast" campaign against a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package that…
NYC firm hit hard by 911 adopts schools hit by Superstorm Sandy.
Homeowners across Long Island are struggling with the cost of rebuilding from super storm Sandy as they wait for banks and mortgage companies…
President Barack Obama has signed into law a $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims from Superstorm Sandy.
The House has overwhelmingly approved $9.7 billion to pay Superstorm Sandy flood insurance claims.Superstorm Sandy.