MARTHA’S VINEYARD, Mass., Aug. 26 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama Friday cut short his Martha’s Vineyard vacation as Hurricane Irene took aim at the Eastern Seaboard.
Obama decided to head back to Washington Friday night instead of waiting until Saturday morning as planned, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
Obama, who spoke with his emergency management team earlier in the day to discuss preparations as Irene, currently a Category 2 hurricane, began lashing the North Carolina coast, said the storm had to be taken “seriously.”
“To sum up, all indications point to this being a historic hurricane,” Obama said.
Forecasters said they could not yet predict whether the storm would make landfall in North Carolina or further north.
Hurricane watches and warnings were in effect as far north as Massachusetts as the storm churned in the Atlantic.