President Barack Obama has addressed America as the nation prepares for the impact of Hurricane Sandy.
In a video statement released earlier today, Obama said: “The most important message I have for the public right now is please listen to what your state and local officials are saying”.
Describing the approaching hurricane as “a big and powerful storm,” the President stated that he was confident of the governors and local officials who have had days to prepare, and complimented the co-ordination of the state, federal and local governments.
Asked if the hurricane would affect his performance in the election, Obama said that the voting would “work itself out”, maintaining that families and first responders were now his top priority.
His comments followed a press conference featuring the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, earlier this afternoon.
The state of New York is expected to be seriously affected by Hurricane Sandy, which has been predicted to cause coastal surges of between 6 and 11 ft tonight as well as winds of around 55mph.
Bloomberg said that New York was a “danger zone” in Hurricane Sandy’s path.
He has declared a “mandatory evacuation” of Zone A – the lower area of Manhattan – urging any remaining residents in the area to “leave immediately” as it has a high risk of flooding.
At least 76 emergency shelters have been opened in Zone A to help people who have no way to leave.
The storm is predicted to be one thousand miles wide by the time it reaches the east coast, along which libraries, public schools, broadway studios, and parks have been closed off for safety.
A number of airports have also closed in anticipation of the storm, with hundreds of flights cancelled as a result.