With Hurricane Matthew moving along the Atlantic seaboard, President Obama on Friday morning urged those in evacuation areas in north Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas to heed warnings from local officials, to minimize any loss of life to this tropical storm.
“Although we’ve seen some significant damage in portions of south Florida, I think the bigger concern at this point is not just hurricane force winds, but storm surge,” the President said in the Oval Office, flanked by his FEMA chief Craig Fugate.
“The big concern that people are having right now are the effects it could have in areas like Jacksonville, on through Georgia,” the President added.
Jacksonville not only has a coastline with low-lying barrier islands and beaches, but also is susceptible to flooding along the St. Johns River, which flows through the city and to the Atlantic Ocean.
Further north in Georgia, the issue is much the same – as the topography of the state, with the curve of the coastline, could worsen the impact of storm surge flooding from the Florida border to Savannah.
“Those of you who live in Georgia, I think should be paying attention,” the President told reporters. “This thing is going to keep on moving north.”
If the hurricane does not make landfall – and that seems to be the forecast at this point, that Matthew will just hug the coast – then that could mean extensive issues with storm surge.
Most people think of wind with hurricanes – but much of the damage, and most of the loss of life is often associated with the water that comes in from a storm.