Obama Declares State of Emergency as Hurricane Sandy Hits
U.S. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency on Monday as Hurricane Sandy began to turn towards land. The Category 1 hurricane is speeding up and moving northwest at a speed of approximately 25-30 miles per hour.
President Barack Obama spoke to reporters from the White House after a briefing in the Situation Room. Millions of people are going to be affected by the storm, he told journalists.
Obama declared a state of emergency for Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, expediting their ability to access federal emergency assistance funds.
Calling on Americans to cooperate with local evacuation instructions, the president said that anyone who doesn't follow orders is “putting first responders in danger.”
At this point, his main concern was not the election, Obama said: “I'm worried about the impact on families,” he said. “I'm worried about the impact on first responders. I'm worried about the economy and transportation. The election will take care of itself next week.”
Sandy is expected to make landfall somewhere along the southern New Jersey shoreline at about 8:00 p.m. EDT, forecasters said. But the storm will actually affect an area of more than 500 miles wide.
At Boston's Logan International Airport, the National Weather Service reported sustained tropical force winds of 41 miles per hour at about 1:00 p.m. EDT.
The New York Stock Exchange, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq have already decided to remain closed for a second day on Tuesday due to the storm, which knocked out power up and down the Eastern Seaboard. More than 116,000 customers were without electricity across 10 states by midday Monday.
Atlantic City will be under a curfew beginning at 6:00 p.m., to remain in force until 6:00 a.m., for the entire area, according to Captain Frank Brennan of the Atlantic City Police Department.
Economists are projecting insured losses of as much as $10 billion, according to a disaster modeling firm quoted by CNNMoney.