Obama signs state of emergency as Isaac approaches Louisiana

President Obama on Monday declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, which is expected to be in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac. 

The action by Obama makes federal funding to the state available immediately, as the tropical storm gained strength Monday, barreling towards the Gulf Coast. The storm is expected to hit the region late Tuesday or early Wednesday, according to forecasters.

The declaration also ensures that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would coordinate efforts with state and local officials in the region.

Obama, who spent the day off the campaign trail in Washington, called Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) about the development on Monday, the White House said, adding that Obama had also reached out to Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama (R), Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi (R) and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D). 

The president received a briefing from FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb on hurricane preparations, the White House said in a statement. 

The storm pushed back the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., after forecasters thought the city could be affected. The threat also caused Vice President Biden to skip plans to hold events in Florida on Monday and Tuesday.

It was not immediately known if Republicans would pull the plug on the rest of the already-subdued convention or if they would have a more condensed meeting before adjourning or move the convention to later in the week.

Romney aides refused to speculate on any further plans.