The White House closely monitors Hurricane Ian’s progress toward Florida. President Joe Biden receives regular updates from the White House and speaks with local officials about the storm’s predicted path before landfall in the United States.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hurricane Ian was still a Category 3 storm. After making landfall in western Cuba, the storm’s winds increased slightly to 120 mph. Ian is expected to strengthen later Tuesday, becoming a Category 4 storm before the end of the day. It is expected that it will hit Florida on Wednesday.
Biden spoke Tuesday from the Rose Garden at an event about lowering healthcare costs. “The forecast could change but experts say this could cause a severe hurricane that could threaten life and have a devastating effect.” “The administration is alert and ready to assist the people of Florida.”
Biden met with Florida Republican Governor. Ron DeSantis spoke with Florida Republican Gov. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary, said Tuesday evening in a tweet that they met to discuss “the steps the Federal government has taken to help Florida prepare” for Hurricane Ian.
Jean-Pierre stated that “The President and Governor have committed to continued close cooperation.”
Jean-Pierre stated earlier Tuesday during the press briefing, that Biden had separate calls with Mayors Jane Castor in Tampa, Ken Welch from St. Petersburg, and Frank Hibbard in Clearwater.
Biden said that the mayors he called were “focused on the safety of their communities” and that they “do everything they can get people out of harm’s way.”
Deanne Criswell, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator, stated Tuesday that she spoke to the governor Friday at President’s request.
“I spoke with Gov. DeSantis spoke with him Friday to discuss his concerns and priorities regarding the response and preparedness actions. We immediately started moving personnel and resources in, and President Biden signed Gov. DeSantis submitted a pre-landfall emergency declaration request Saturday. Criswell stated that this enabled us to support the governor’s concerns immediately.
Later, she added that “The President instructed me to contact the governor early before we enacted this declaration. That was what I did. My regional administrator is currently with the governor, ensuring we understand the needs and focusing on the life safety requirements.
Criswell said that Biden also asked mayors about their needs, and how they were doing with mandatory evacuation orders in their respective cities during his calls.
Biden encouraged Florida residents to listen to their local officials and to follow evacuation orders. He said that safety is more important than any other thing.
“I know that our hearts are with all who will be affected by this storm. He added that we will be there for you every step of this storm.” “We are not going anywhere.”
Criswell also said that she spoke Monday by phone with the governors in South Carolina and Georgia regarding potential storm impacts on their states.
Castor stated Tuesday that Hurricane Ian’s impact on Tampa Bay “hasn’t changed a lot,” and that the slow-moving storm will bring “devastating amounts of water”.
Castor stated that the President, on the call with Criswell and Biden, “just wanted to make sure that we had all of the resources that were needed and wished us the best.”