President Obama warns Hurricane Matthew could have 'devastating effect'

Hurricane Matthew

(ABC NEWS) -- President Obama visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters today for a briefing from his homeland security team on the latest updates with Hurricane Matthew, which is currently barreling through the Caribbean and headed for Florida's Atlantic Coast.

Matthew is “a serious storm,” Obama said and asked residents in the storm's path to take evacuation orders seriously.

"Even if you don't get the full force of the hurricane we are still going to be seeing tropical force winds, the potential for storm surge, and all of that could have a devastating effect," Obama said. "So everybody needs to be paying attention and following the instructions of your local officials, and if you get an evacuation order just remember that you can always rebuild, you can always repair property, you cannot restore a life if it is lost."

Obama said the storm already appeared to have wreaked havoc on Haiti, and urged for Americans in a position to provide assistance to visit As for Americans in potentially affected states, Obama said regardless of whether they have been given an evacuation order they should begin preparations by following guidelines available at

“That will give you some really clear instructions about how to make sure that you are securing your property and keeping your family safe which is obviously the priority for all of us," Obama said. "This is something to take seriously. We hope for the best but we want to prepare for the worst."

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