-- President Obama warned this morning that the devastation from Hurricane Matthew is far from over, and the potential for storm surges, flooding and property damage "continues to exist."
"I just want to emphasize to everybody that this is still a really dangerous hurricane," Obama said during a statement from the Oval Office after meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Deputy Homeland Security adviser Amy Pope.
Before Matthew struck the Atlantic Coast this morning, the president issued federal emergency declarations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.
As the storm continues to crawl up the coast, hundreds of thousands are without power. At least one person in the U.S. has died because of the storm.
While the damage from Hurricane Matthew has been relatively minor so far, residents of coastal states are not "out of the woods," the president said.
"Many of you will remember Hurricane Sandy where initially people thought this doesn't look as bad as we thought and then suddenly you get massive storm surge and a lot of people were severely affected," Obama said. "We're still on the front end of this hurricane, we're not on the backend. So we don't know how bad the damage could end up, we don't know how severe the storm surge could end up being. And we're not going to know for 3, 4, 5 days what the ultimate effects of this are."
The president said he has been in contact with the governors of all four states likely to be impacted by Matthew, and urged citizens to pay attention to what their officials are recommending.
"If they are telling you to evacuate, you need to get out of there and move to higher ground, because storm surge can move very quickly," he said.
So far, the devastation has not changed the president’s plans to travel to Chicago this weekend for fundraisers.