WASHINGTON – Despite Tropical Storm Irene's weakened punch, President Obama urged those in its path to stay vigilant and warned that the storm's impact would continue to be felt for some time.
"This is not over," Obama said in a Sunday afternoon statement from the Rose Garden.
With Irene having carved its way along the East Coast throughout the weekend, the president said emergency officials were most concerned about lengthy power outages and flooding as swollen rivers begin to crest. He urged the public to heed the warnings of local officials in the coming days, and said his administration would continue working with local officials to ensure they were prepared to respond.
"The impacts of this storm will be felt for some time. And the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer," said Obama, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate.
Seeking to show presidential leadership amid the storm, the White House added the Rose Garden statement to Obama's schedule late Sunday afternoon, after the storm had significantly weakened. Most areas, including New York City, appeared to have escaped with less damage than first expected.