“Sandy has not reached the coast yet. We still do not know where it will strike or where the impact will be most devastating and that’s why it is important to be prepared to respond quickly and massively,” Obama told journalists during a visit to the Federal Agency for emergency situations (FEMA).
Barack Obama, who has canceled his campaign travels on Monday and Tuesday, decided to stay at the White House and follow closely the developments. He met with FEMA officials and spoke by telephone with the governors of states and mayors of cities that will be affected by the storm in the coming days.
The President believes Sandy is a “major and worrying storm “. Hurricane is “moving slow,” he recalled, which increases the risk of flooding, and heavy rains are expected as the storm reaches the coast on Tuesday morning, somewhere between Virginia and Massachusetts.
He also ensured that people affected by weather will get the necessary help.
American television put the presidential campaign in their background, all eyes being now focused on hurricane Sandy apparently seen as a looming apocalypse.
Sunday, the hurricane epicenter was located still in the Atlantic Ocean, about 200 miles off shore and 400 miles southwest of New York, but computer models indicated that it will head towards west and the impact is expected to be in New Jersey area.
Hurricane is an unprecedented combination of gigantic tropical storm and northern cold atmospheric front, amplified by the tide because of the full moon, hence the name “Frankestorm”. When hitting the land, torrential rain, snow and massive wind are to be unleashed.
In New York, public transportation was suspended on Sunday evening and it is anticipated that it will not be resumed until Wednesday morning. The announcement was made by Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Stay at home, read a book, “enjoy” the time with your family. You do not have to be in the streets,” Cuomo said in a televised intervention.
Authorities ordered also evacuation of settlements near the sea shore in New York and Long Island, fearing risks of flooding. The rising of the sea level is now the main concern in New York City, where the potential flood threatens subway stations and streets in southern Manhattan.
“If the wind is blowing in our direction, then it will bring a huge amount of water and cause significant damage,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his TV intervention. The mayor urged residents of Area A, designated as a danger area, to leave their homes and seek refuge at friends and the 72 shelter centers that will be opened. “Evacuation is mandatory. If not complying with our instructions, you do not expose only your lives, but also our services.” Approximately 375,000 people live in areas scheduled for disposal. Schools will be closed on Monday.
Asked to make a comparison between Sandy and previous hurricane Irene, that hit New York in 2011, Bloomberg said: “Irene was more about rain and wind, but now the concern is about the rising of the ocean water levels in shore areas. Of course, wind and rain are also included. “. Everyone has to keep in mind that New York region is almost entirely surrounded by water.