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Obama: 'Don't Wait, Don't Delay' If You're In Irene's Path

"If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now," President Obama just told Americans along the East Coast, which is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene this weekend.

"Don't wait, don't delay. We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst. All of us have to take this storm seriously," Obama said from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he and his family are vactioning.

All indications, the president said, point to "a historic hurricane" that could cause extensive damage from North Carolina north to New England.

Update at 12:56 p.m. ET:Reuters and The Associated Press are now reporting that the president and his family will depart Martha's Vineyard today because of the approaching hurricane. ( 1:25 p.m. ET: And reporters who are on Martha's Vineyard now confirm that White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the Obamas will depart this evening.) Earlier, we wrote that "the president and his family are scheduled to leave Martha's Vineyard on Saturday. Irene is expected to begin affecting the Washington, D.C., — bringing heavy rain and strong winds — during the day tomorrow."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.