THE PRESIDENT: Okay, thank you very much. I've received a briefing from Secretary Nielsen, Administrator Long, and my senior staff regarding Hurricane Florence and other tropical systems that will soon impact
And it looks to me, and it looks to all of -- a lot of very talented people that do this for a living, like this is going to be a storm that's going to be a very large one -- far larger than we've seen in perhaps decades. Things can change, but we doubt they will at this stage. It's a pretty late stage. We doubt they're going to be veering very far off course.
The places that are in the way and in the most jeopardy would be
So I've spoken with the governors of
I'd like to ask
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: Thank you, Mr. President. Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence is setting out to be a devastating event to the Carolinas, and potentially
So as you can see, they're forecasting a major landfalling storm -- Category 3 or 4 storm at landfall. The biggest hazard that we're worried about is storm surge. That's the primary driver of the evacuations that are underway by the states of
Unfortunately, the remnants of
So, right now, sir, we're supporting the governors with achieving their life safety evacuation and movements. We're focused on mass care and sheltering. And then we'll be focused on helping them to execute their response and recovery goals.
THE PRESIDENT: What are the chances that it veers off course and the hit won't be so direct? What are the chances of that?
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: Unfortunately, I believe there's quite a bit of certainty in the track forecast because the forward speed is picking up. It's getting faster. And when systems do that, the track forecast becomes a lot more accurate. And I think the expectation needs to be set with the citizens in this area that, if you've been asked to leave, get out of the areas that are going to flood, and get into a facility that can withstand the winds.
Let's set the expectations as well: This has an opportunity of being a very devastating storm. The power is going to be off for weeks. You're going to be displaced from your home in the coastal areas. And there will be flooding in the inland areas as well.
So these are going to be statewide events. The hazards will be statewide.
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks. You wanted to show us this one then?
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: Yeah. This is a seven-day rainfall graphic. As you can see, the pink areas and the purple areas indicate 20 inches. That's mean area rainfall; that's an average rainfall amount. But you may see isolated amounts greater -- into the 30-inch range -- over
THE PRESIDENT: Good. And it has been great coordination. I have to tell you, the states have been terrific. Everybody is working together. The governors and all of their representatives have been absolutely fantastic. And
Do you have any questions for Secretary Nielsen or for
Q What lesson do we take from what happened in
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think
And I actually think -- and the Governor has been very nice. And if you ask the Governor, he'll tell you what a great job. I think probably the hardest one we had, by far, was
And when the storm hit, they had no electricity -- essentially before the storm. And when the storm hit, that took it out entirely.
The job that
So we've gotten a lot of receptivity, a lot of thanks for the job we've done in
And, by the way, speaking of
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: Potentially, Hurricane Isaac right now is tracking south of the island, but we are -- we have several thousand people inside
THE PRESIDENT: We do not want to see Hurricane Isaac hit
Q Mr. President, how much money do you think you'll need for recovery efforts to this next hurricane? And do you have that already, or do you need to get it?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have it currently. Obviously, these are all unanticipated, so we'll go to
But we're already set up. We have tremendous trucking systems, we have food systems. We have a lot of -- a lot of contractors waiting. But for the most part, it's been handled by
Now, I've also heard it could be 21 and 22 inches. If you can imagine what that is -- 22 inches of rain. It is not something that we've had. Certainly, we've never had this on the
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: Yeah. I think this storm right here is very similar to Hurricane Hugo and almost like a combination of Hurricane Hugo in '89 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
But look, successful disaster response and recovery is one that's locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. So what
I also think -- I'd like to point out that what we learned last year is we have got to build a true culture of preparedness within our citizens here in America. This is a partnership, and it takes anything from neighbor helping neighbor all the way to the federal government when it comes to correctly responding and recovering.
Q Can we ask you about the (inaudible) and power outages? What things are right now to --
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: That's a great question. So
THE PRESIDENT: But unlike
They're going to be coming in very strongly, and they're already lining up. They'll be here probably, for the most part, tomorrow, or shortly before the storm hits. So they're going to be in great shape. These are, really, states that have very, very strong power authorities.
Q What's your message, Mr. President, to people who might not have evacuated yet?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's very risky. I mean, again, we've never seen anything quite like this on the
And from what I'm hearing, the sites that they're seeing have not been seen on the
Q Do you believe
THE PRESDIENT: Ah, well, you shouldn't be talking about that right now because it doesn't matter. But I really appreciate their statement. Their statement was excellent. And they both said that beautiful, which shows that the book is just a piece of fiction.
Thank you very much. I think we're very well prepared. And thank you all very much. Appreciate it.
Q Do you mind giving us an update on the trade talks?
THE PRESIDENT: Trade talks are coming along very well. We're dealing with
Thank you everybody.