US President Donald Trump visited Florida as the Category 1 hurricane Isaias is approaching the state’s southeast coast.
“It’s pretty severe nevertheless. A lot of water coming in. It’s approaching the Florida coast,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trump as saying during a roundtable with administration and state officials on Friday in Belleair.
“I ask all of those in the path of the storm to follow the guidance of your state, local, and tribal officials,” he added.
Isaias is currently impacting The Bahamas and is expected to approach the southeast coast of Florida before tracking up the East Coast as far north as New England next week.
The maximum sustained winds are near 130 km/h with higher gusts, according to the latest public advisory from the National Hurricane Center late Friday night.
“Additional strengthening is expected through early Saturday, and Isaias is forecast to remain a hurricane for the next couple of days,” it added.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Friday for counties in the path of the hurricane.
During the roundtable with Trump, DeSantis urged residents to get seven days of food, supplies, and medicine.
“There could be some power outages. And it’s an ongoing, very fluid situation,” he said.
In a tweet on Friday night, the Governor said he’s requesting a pre-landfall emergency declaration from the White House for Florida.
The hurricane comes as coronavirus infections continue to surge in the “Sunshine State”, which has reported more than 470,000 cases and nearly 7,000 deaths.
The number of new cases reached nearly 9,000 on Friday.
Florida, Trump’s home state, is widely considered a key battleground state for this year’s presidential election.
In 2016, Trump won Florida with a 1.2 per cent margin, but most polls have shown him trailing former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.