WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama was briefed this morning by phone by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate regarding the ongoing response to the large winter storm currently moving across the country. Throughout this storm, the National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches, warnings or advisories in over 30 states.
Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate updated the President on the track and impact of the storm, including scattered power and transportation disruptions in the Midwest and potential severe weather throughout the day across the Northeast. They also discussed the continued efforts to support state, local and tribal officials in areas that have already been impacted or are currently in the path of the storm. As of this morning, at the request of the respective states, FEMA personnel have deployed to Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. FEMA also continues to position commodities for rapid delivery, if needed, including water, meals, blankets, cots, generators and other essential items.
The President stressed the need for close coordination at all levels of government, and instructed DHS and FEMA to continue anticipating and addressing the needs of the states dealing with the storm. The President wanted to make sure that we were doing all we can to continue to encourage all Americans to follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio, NOAA Weather Radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. The President also extended his thanks to the first responders, federal employees, state and local emergency management officials, public works personnel and volunteer agencies currently at work responding to the storm.