From Tahman Bradley:
As Hurricane Irene's Category 1-force winds pounded the coast of North Carolina today, President Obama visited FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C.
After touring the facility, Obama shared what he's most worried about.
"The biggest concern I'm having right now is due to flooding and power. It sounds like that's going to be an enormous strain on a lot of states, and that may take days even longer in some cases."
Obama thanked the workers at the command center for their around the clock effort.
"Really appreciate you. Proud of you," he said. "Each conversation I've had with state and local officials, they've confirmed to me that the relationship with FEMA has been outstanding."
FEMA officials are coordinating a response to the storm with federal, state, local and private sector groups at the national command center. FEMA has also convened daily video teleconference with states threatened by Hurricane Irene at the center that the president toured.
Obama so far has declared a state of emergency in nine states. The move authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to provide direct assistance to the East Coast states along Irene’s projected path.
As the storm moves up the East Coast, Obama said he wants emergency responders to keep him updated about developments. On a conference call this morning, Obama received the latest information about Irene’s intensity, its track and the response and recovery effort from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. The White House says the president wants fresh updates throughout the day and overnight.
On Friday, Obama urged Americans living along the Hurricane Irene’s projected path to take the storm seriously.
– Tahman Bradley