Bracing for Irene, White House Has No Plans to Leave Martha's Vineyard Early
President Obama continues his Martha's Vineyard vacation Thursday as Hurricane Irene threatens the Bahamas. Mr. Obama held a conference call with his chief of staff Bill Daley, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and FEMA administrator Craig Fugate to discuss the efforts underway to support the eastern seaboard, expected to be impacted by the storm early next week.
While the White House continues to monitor the weather, there are no plans to cut the president's vacation short. "The president is responsible to fulfill his responsibilities a president regardless of where he is," principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday.
The storm is still several days from making landfall on the United Sates, but FEMA is taking precautions to support the states from the Carolinas up to Maine. Fugate was cautious on a conference call with reporters to not cause a panic, stressing that three to four days out, there is still much uncertainty in the forecast on the hurricane system.
However vacationers on Martha's Vineyard might feel differently.
Flashlights and batteries are sold out at ACE Hardware in Vineyard Haven. Wayne Guyther the manager of Ace told Fox News, "the last couple of days we've been selling lots of batteries, flashlights, tarps and plywood. People are even inquiring about generators."
Down the street at Martha's Vineyard Shipyard, crews are working overtime to lift boats out of the water ahead of the storm. Phil Hale the owner of the shipyard expects his staff will haul 20-30 boats each day ahead of Irene. But in the boating industry, this is something they're always prepared for on the Vineyard. "We seem to go through this once or twice a season," Hale said in an interview with Fox News.
While the path could change in the next few days, the DC metropolitan area could feel effects of a tropical storm Sunday, when the president is scheduled to participate in the Martin Luther King Memorial dedication. Mr. Obama is still on schedule to return to Washington Saturday.