Biden says his administration is ‘alert and in action’ to help deal with Hurricane Ian
The White House is closely monitoring Hurricane Ian as it heads into Florida, with President Joe Biden receiving regular updates and speaking with local officials on the storm’s expected path ahead of its arrival in the states. -United.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hurricane Ian is still a Category 3. Winds from the storm increased slightly to 120 miles per hour, after decreasing after making landfall in western Cuba. Ian should continue to strengthen later on Tuesday and become a Category 4 before the end of the day. It is expected to hit Florida on Wednesday.
« (The) predictions may change, but for now experts say this could be a very severe, life-threatening and devastating hurricane, » Biden said from the Rose Garden on Tuesday at an event on reducing health care costs. « The administration is on alert and in action to help the people of Florida. »
Biden spoke Tuesday night with Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. Tweeter« to discuss actions taken by the federal government to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian. »
“The president and the governor are committed to continuing close coordination,” Jean-Pierre said.
Jean-Pierre said earlier at Tuesday’s press conference that Biden held separate calls with mayors Jane Castor of Tampa, Ken Welch of St. Petersburg and Frank Hibbard of Clearwater.
Biden later said the mayors he called are « focused on keeping their communities safe and doing everything they can to get people out of harm’s way. » The president said he “told each of them in my conversations separately, whatever they needed – I mean this, whatever they needed – contact me directly.”
Additionally, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell said Tuesday that she spoke with the governor on Friday at the president’s request.
“I spoke with Governor DeSantis on Friday to hear his key concerns and priorities for response and preparedness actions. And we immediately began moving resources and personnel, and President Biden signed Governor DeSantis’ request for an emergency declaration on Saturday before landing. This allowed us to immediately begin supporting the governor’s concerns that he relayed to me,” Criswell said.
She later added, “The president asked me to contact the governor early before we adopt the declaration. I did it. My Regional Administrator is with the Governor at this time, making sure we understand what the needs are and are focused on the current life safety needs that need to be met.
Criswell added that Biden asked mayors about their needs and progress with mandatory evacuation orders in their cities during their calls.
During his remarks, Biden urged Florida citizens to listen to local officials and follow evacuation orders, saying their « safety is more important than anything. »
“I know our hearts are with everyone who will feel the effects of this storm. And we will be with you every step of the way,” he added. « We won’t leave. »
Criswell said she also spoke by phone Monday with the governors of South Carolina and Georgia about the storm’s potential effects on their states.
Castor said Tuesday that forecasts for Hurricane Ian’s effects on the city « have not changed much » as the slow-moving storm is expected to bring a « devastating amount of water » to the Tampa Bay area.
Castor said on the call with Biden and Criswell, the president « just wanted to make sure we had all the resources we needed and clearly wished us the best. »
This story was updated with additional information on Tuesday.