Transcript: President Obama's Statement on Hurricane Irene

The following is a transcript of President Obama's speech on Hurricane Irene:

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 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 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 in 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 can not stress this highly enough; if you are in the projected path of this storm, 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, that's or That's

Now since last weekend, FEMA's been deploying it's Management Assistance teams to staging areas and 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 prepositioned 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 coordinates with our state and local partners. And they stand ready to be deployed if 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 prepositioned 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 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 and communities that could be affected by this storm to see to it that we are prepared.

So now's 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.