Full Text August 26, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Statement to the Nation on Hurricane Irene — Urges Americans to Take Historic Hurricane Seriously & to Evacuate if Instructed

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama urges Americans to take Hurricane Irene “seriously”: Speaking from his vacation rental on Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama said, “all indications point to this being a historic hurricane.” “If you are instructed to evacuate, please do so,” he said.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama on Hurricane Irene: Take this Storm Seriously

President Barack Obama makes statement on Hurricane Irene

Source: WH, 8-26-11

President Barack Obama makes statement on Hurricane Irene outside the Fisher House at Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, Mass., Aug. 26, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This morning, President Obama was briefed once again by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, and senior White House officials about preparations being made for Hurricane Irene. Following the briefing, the President urged Americans in the projected path of the hurricane to take precautions now:

Don’t delay.  We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst.  All of us have to take this storm seriously.  You need to listen to your state and local officials, and if you are given an evacuation order, please follow it.  Just to underscore this point:  We ordered an aircraft carrier group out to sea to avoid this storm yesterday. So if you’re in the way of this hurricane, you should be preparing now.

Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov for resources on how you can prepare your families, home, and businesses for a hurricane. You can get the latest updates on the progression of Hurricane Irene at Hurricanes.gov.

The President also provided an overview of ongoing federal preparations:

Now, since last weekend, FEMA has been deploying its Incident Management Assistance Teams to staging areas in communities up and down the coast.  FEMA has millions of liters of water, millions of meals, and tens of thousands of cots and blankets, along with other supplies, pre-positioned along the Eastern Seaboard.  And the American Red Cross has already begun preparing shelters in North Carolina and other states.

These resources are all being coordinated with our state and local partners, and they stand ready to be deployed as necessary. But, again, if you are instructed to evacuate, please do so.  It’s going to take time for first responders to begin rescue operations and to get the resources we’ve pre-positioned to people in need.  So the more you can do to be prepared now — making a plan, make a supply kit, know your evacuation route, follow instructions of your local officials — the quicker we can focus our resources after the storm on those who need help the most.

To sum up, all indications point to this being a historic hurricane.  Although we can’t predict with perfect certainty the impact of Irene over the next few days, the federal government has spent the better part of last week working closely with officials in communities that could be affected by this storm to see to it that we are prepared.  So now is the time for residents of these communities — in the hours that remain — to do the same.  And FEMA and Craig Fugate, the director of FEMA, will be keeping people closely posted in the next 24, 48 hours.

Statement by the President on Preparations for Hurricane Irene

Fisher House at Blue Heron Farm, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

11:28 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I want to say a few words about Hurricane Irene, urge Americans to take it seriously, and provide an overview of our ongoing federal preparations for what’s likely to be an extremely dangerous and costly storm.

I’ve just convened a conference call with senior members of my emergency response team 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.  And we will continue to stay in close contact with them.

I cannot stress this highly enough:  If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now.  Don’t wait.  Don’t delay.  We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst.  All of us have to take this storm seriously.  You need to listen to your state and local officials, and if you are given an evacuation order, please follow it.  Just to underscore this point:  We ordered an aircraft carrier group out to sea to avoid this storm yesterday. So if you’re in the way of this hurricane, you should be preparing now.

If you aren’t sure how to prepare your families or your home or your business for a hurricane or any other emergency, then you can visit Ready.gov — that’s Ready.gov — or Listo.gov.  That’s Listo.gov.

Now, since last weekend, FEMA has been deploying its Incident Management Assistance Teams to staging areas in communities up and down the coast.  FEMA has millions of liters of water, millions of meals, and tens of thousands of cots and blankets, along with other supplies, pre-positioned along the Eastern Seaboard.  And the American Red Cross has already begun preparing shelters in North Carolina and other states.

These resources are all being coordinated with our state and local partners, and they stand ready to be deployed as necessary. But, again, if you are instructed to evacuate, please do so.  It’s going to take time for first responders to begin rescue operations and to get the resources we’ve pre-positioned to people in need.  So the more you can do to be prepared now — making a plan, make a supply kit, know your evacuation route, follow instructions of your local officials — the quicker we can focus our resources after the storm on those who need help the most.

To sum up, all indications point to this being a historic hurricane.  Although we can’t predict with perfect certainty the impact of Irene over the next few days, the federal government has spent the better part of last week working closely with officials in communities that could be affected by this storm to see to it that we are prepared.  So now is the time for residents of these communities — in the hours that remain — to do the same.  And FEMA and Craig Fugate, the director of FEMA, will be keeping people closely posted in the next 24, 48 hours.

Thank you very much.

END 11:31 A.M. EDT

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Political Buzz August 23, 2011: 5.9 Earthquake Shakes Washington & East Coast — Worst Quake Since 1944

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: 5.9 EARTHQUAKE SHAKES WASHINGTON & EAST COAST WORST SINCE 1944

Quake mapping

A map as displayed on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website after the quake. The red square, indicating earthquake activity in the preceding hour, shows the earthquake’s epicenter in Virginia. The blue symbol indicates a quake activity in the preceding 24 hours. (U.S. Geological Survey / August 23, 2011)

Earthquake Strikes East Coast; Epicenter Near Richmond, Va., U.S. Geological Survey Says: An earthquake sent tremors from the nation’s capital to New York City Tuesday afternoon, the result of what officials said was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake based in Virginia. There were no immediate reports of damage.
It is not clear how far the earthquake spread, but tremors were felt throughout New York City office buildings and as far north as Concord, N.H.

Strongest quake since ’44 jars East Coast: Tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada were jolted Tuesday by the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Three weeks before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, office workers poured out of New York skyscrapers and the Pentagon, relieved it was nothing more sinister than an act of nature….. – AP, 8-23-11

“For many people this was a stressful afternoon, but so far we’ve been lucky to avoid any major harm.” — Mayor Bloomberg

Magnitude-5.8 Earthquake Strikes National Capital Area:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the National Capital Area on Tuesday, August 23, at 1:51p.m. (EDT), causing moderate shaking and potentially significant damage, and was felt throughout Northern Virginia and neighboring areas. No casualties are expected.
The earthquake occurred near Louisa and Mineral, Va., approximately 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC. It was a shallow earthquake, and shaking was recorded all along the Appalachians, from Georgia to New England. There have been several aftershocks.
The earthquake occurred in the Central Virginia Seismic Zone, which has produced earthquakes in the past. The most notable was an earthquake that occurred in 1875 that scientists believe was about a magnitude 4.5.
This earthquake is almost as strong as the strongest recorded earthquake in Virginia, a magnitude 5.9, which occurred in May 1897 in Giles County, Va. The strongest recorded earthquake to strike the East Coast was the 1886 Charleston, S.C., earthquake, which was about a magnitude 7.3.
Those who felt the earthquake can go online and report their observations on the USGS Did You Feel It? website. Over 10,000 reports of felt shaking have already been received from more than 3400 zip codes all over the eastern United States.
The earthquake was felt so widely because it was a shallow earthquake, and geologic conditions in the eastern U.S. allow the effects of earthquakes to propagate and spread much more efficiently than in the western United States.
Western rock is relatively young, which means it absorbs a lot of the shaking caused by earthquakes. Thus, western earthquakes result in intense shaking close to the epicenter, but fade more quickly the farther the earthquakes travel.
In the eastern United States, on the other hand, the rock is far older, and so earthquakes can have a much larger and more widespread impact. Earthquake energy can therefore spread farther and have a greater impact…..

  • Quake rocks Washington area, felt on East Coast: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, DC, and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing. … – AP, 8-23-11
  • 5.9-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes East Coast: An earthquake sent tremors from the nation’s capital to New York City and New England Tuesday afternoon, the result of what officials said was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake based in Virginia. … NYT, 8-23-11
  • D.C. earthquake shakes White House, Capitol: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia shook Washington Tuesday. The White House and Capitol were among the Washington buildings that were evacuated…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 quake hits Va.; Felt along US east coast: One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded on the East Coast shook buildings and rattled nerves from South Carolina to New England on Tuesday and forced the evacuations of parts of the Capitol, White House and Pentagon.
    There were no immediate reports of deaths, but fire officials in Washington said there were at least some injuries. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8 and was centered 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va…. – CBS News, 8-23-11
  • Rare quake rattles eastern US seaboard: One of the strongest earthquakes to strike the US east coast in decades rattled offices Tuesday in downtown Washington and caused panicked evacuations from skyscrapers as far away as New York. The Pentagon, the US Capitol and Union Station … – AFP, 8-23-11
  • City Seen as Vulnerable to Quake: In the last 300 years, there have been three earthquakes centered in and around the New York City area about the size of Tuesday’s quake: in 1737, 1783 and 1884. The 1884 quake was a magnitude 5.5 and was centered in Coney Island. … – WSJ, 8-23-11
  • Biggest Virginia Earthquake in Century Rattles Washington, Harms Cathedral: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake, the biggest recorded in Virginia in more than a century, rattled Washington, D.C., and prompted the evacuation of the White House. It shook stones loose from the National Cathedral, shuttered Washington monuments and forced the shutdown of nuclear reactors in Virginia.
    The temblor struck just before 2 p.m. yesterday in Virginia, almost 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of the U.S. capital and 3.7 miles below the earth’s surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. With many buildings evacuated, no serious injuries were reported in Washington…. – Bloomberg, 8-23-11
  • Quake felt in New York City office buildings: Tremors shook New York City office buildings on Tuesday, prompting evacuations of courthouses, City Hall and halting work at the World Trade Center construction site, officials and witnesses said. … – Reuters, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 earthquake rattles Washington, New York City, felt in eastern Canada: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered northwest of Richmond, Va., shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island, New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where President Barack Obama is vacationing.
    The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. There were no immediate reports of injuries…. – AP, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Virginia, shaking felt in New York City: The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake had a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter was half a mile deep and centered near Louisa, Va., about 40 miles from Richmond.
    The quake, which hit at 1:51 p.m. and lasted only a few seconds, was felt up and down the Eastern Seaboard – from the Carolinas to Toronto.
    The tips of three spires on the National Cathedral in Washington fell off, part of a building collapsed in Baltimore and a brick chimney crumbled atop a housing project in Red Hook.
    That was the worst of it – except for the panic. More than 12 million people may have felt the quake’s sickening swaying, the USGS said. – New York Daily News, 8-23-11
  • Washington Monument top cracked by earthquake: The National Park Service says engineers have found a crack near the top of the Washington Monument presumably caused by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the East Coast. Park service spokesman Bill Line said Tuesday night that…. – AP, 8-23-11
  • The Washington Monument Is Almost Certainly Not Leaning: Amid reports of spotty cellphone service and “localized casualties,” Tuesday’s earthquake gave rise to a completely fantastic rumor that slowly seems to be gaining merit — or at least earnest investigation: That the Washington Monument was tilting…. – The Atlantic Wire, 8-23-11
  • Washington Monument To Remain Closed “Indefinitely” After Quake Causes Cracks: Engineers inspecting the Washington Monument on Tuesday found cracks at the top of the 555-foot obelisk which will keep it closed to visitors indefinitely, the Associated Press reports. The damage, likely caused by the 5.8 earthquake that struck…. – Business Insider, 8-23-11
  • D.C. monuments and museums closed; no major structural damage reported: With the Washington Monument in the background people walk nearby after it was closed to visitors as a security precaution following an earthquake in the Washington area. The 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered…. – Daily Caller, 8-23-11
  • Earthquake Is Felt in New York: The vibrations of an earthquake centered in Virginia were felt in New York City on Tuesday afternoon. Some buildings have been evacuated, including City Hall, the Department of Education headquarters and World Trade Center 7…. – NYT, 8-23-11
  • Quake, centered near Washington, felt along East Coast: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck Tuesday near the nation’s capital and sent shock waves up and down the East Coast. “It’s one of the largest that we’ve had there,” said US Geological Survey…. – CNN, 8-23-11
  • Major quake hits DC area: A significant earthquake struck central Virginia Tuesday afternoon, shaking homes and buildings up and down the East Coast and forcing evacuations of major DC-area government buildings, including the White House, Pentagon and Capitol. … – Politico, 8-23-11
  • 5.9-magnitude quake jolts eastern U.S. : 2011-08-23: Office workers gather on the sidewalk in downtown Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011, moments after a 5.9-magnitude tremor shook the nation’s capital. The quake, centered northwest of Richmond, was felt as far north as Rhode Island and New York. … – Washington Times, 8-23-11
  • Earthquake shakes Boston: An earthquake centered in Virginia shook the Eastern Seaboard just before 2 pm, and was felt as a rumble lasting several seconds in the Boston area. Some buildings in the city were evacuated, while officials inspected them, but there were no immediate damage…. – Boston Globe, 8-23-11
  • US Capitol, Pentagon, State Department Evacuated After 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake: The US Capitol, Pentagon, State Department and surrounding buildings all emptied today following a 5.9 earthquake that sent government workers scrambling. Sirens sounded outside US House office buildings on the south side of Capitol Hill…. – ABC News, 8-23-11
  • Quake Listed at 5.9 Rattles East Coast From North Carolina to New York: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted the East Coast … – ABC News, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 earthquake hits Virginia, jolts NY and Carolinas: A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck Virginia at about 1:50 pm (EDT), the US Geological Survey reported Tuesday. Tremors were felt in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee and the Carolinas. In New York City, some buildings were evacuated…. – LAT, 8-23-11
  • Virginia 5.9 earthquake felt across eastern Canada; no reports of damage: A moderate earthquake centred in Virginia was felt hundreds of kilometres north in eastern Canada. People from Ottawa to Toronto and across into New Brunswick reported feeling the tremor. Toronto police said via Twitter that they had received … – Winnipeg Free Press, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 earthquake shakes Ontario, eastern US: Beginning of Story Content An earthquake centred in Virginia with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 shook a broad swath of the US and Central Canada on Tuesday. The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred near Mineral, Va., about 134 kilometres … – CBC.ca, 8-23-11
  • East-coast earthquake felt in Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York, Washington: The US Capitol building, the Pentagon and other buildings were evacuated, witnesses said. Buildings were also briefly evacuated in New York and Toronto. Emergency services in DC have reported many calls for no injuries. Cellular service was disrupted … – Montreal Gazette, 8-23-11
  • Quake shakes up Eastern Canada, US: Tuesday’s earthquake that was centred in Virginia also shook up a significant part of Eastern Canada. The 5.9-magnitude quake was felt by residents of Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Windsor, Ont…. – Vancouver Sun, 8-23-11
  • What?! An earthquake? East Coast reacts with shock: The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck Virginia on Tuesday gives new meaning to the word “aftershock.” Residents up and down the East Coast had trouble believing what they were feeling — that the earth was literally trembling beneath their feet. … – LAT, 8-23-11
  • Virginia quake: What was the damage on the East Coast?: Virginia quake caused the evacuation of many buildings and triggered the shutdown of two nuclear reactors. Cellphone call volume spiked as people rushed to call loved ones after the Virginia quake…. – CS Monitor, 8-23-11
  • Virginia 5.8 Quake Shakes Buildings From D.C. to Boston: A 5.8 magnitude earthquake, the biggest to strike Virginia in more than a century, hit about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Richmond, rocking buildings from Washington to Boston and causing office workers in New York City … San Francisco Chronicle, 8-23-11
  • NY, DC briefly shaken by 9/11 memories during earthquake: Workers dashed out of buildings, many of them worried that the tremors from a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast was a bomb or terrorist attack…. – CNN, 8-23-11
  • 5.9 magnitude quake hits northeastern US and Canada: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake originating in Virginia rocked Washington, DC on Tuesday shortly before 2 pm EST, and seems to have been felt as far north as Quebec City. … – Macleans.ca, 8-23-11
  • Tremors hit Toronto after 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocks Virginia: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centred in Virginia shook much of Washington, DC, and was felt through much of the northeast. (Aug. 23) A major earthquake in Virginia left little more than shaking bobblehead dolls, swaying blinds and vibrating chairs in … – Toronto Star, 8-23-11
  • Earthquake Rattles New York and Washington DC: Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from buildings in cities from New York to Washington DC. Air and train traffic has been disrupted and two nuclear reactors have been taken offline…. – The Province, 8-23-11
  • White House, Capitol, Pentagon evacuated in wake of earthquake: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled Washington on Tuesday afternoon — causing the evacuation of government buildings, cellphone service outages, traffic gridlock and delays in public transportation. … – The Hill, 8-23-11
  • Rare earthquake shakes and shocks Eastern Seaboard: There were no major injuries reported nor severe damage, but the 45-second earthquake that hit the East Coast Tuesday afternoon gave millions of people a thorough and efficient education in what Westerners already know…. – USA Today, 8-23-11
  • Facebook, Twitter report record earthquake messages: Facebook and Twitter proved on Tuesday to be a key source of information on Tuesday’s East Coast earthquake, as cellphone networks struggled with congestion from an overwhelming number of callers. The earthquake hit at 1:51 pm…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • DC Earthquake Dominates Social Media Sites: 5 Must-See Stats: News about the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Washington, DC on Tuesday and was felt in cities throughout the East coast exploded online, spreading rapidly via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. … – Huffington Post, 8-23-11
  • Virginia quake: Top five political jokes on Twitter: The Virginia earthquake prompted evacuations of the Pentagon, White House, and Congress. And the quake triggered an outpouring of political jokes on Twitter…. – CS Monitor, 8-23-11
  • For central Virginia’s seismic zone, quake is an event of rare magnitude: The state hasn’t suffered a quake of this size since the slightly larger one that rattled Giles County in 1897. “That’s the biggest earthquake in human history in Virginia,” said David Applegate, associate director for natural hazards at the U.S. Geological Survey. And the 5.8 quake Tuesday was as big as anything experts expect in the so-called Central Virginia Seismic Zone…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
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