Biden approves emergency declaration for Florida as Ian approaches
President Biden on Saturday issued an emergency declaration for the state of Florida as Tropical Storm Ian intensifies in the Caribbean.
Biden’s move directs federal assistance to supplement Florida’s storm response, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to help coordinate emergency relief efforts, according to the White House.
The president’s planned trip to Florida Tuesday was also canceled due to the storm.
As Florida braces for the storm’s forecasted arrival, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Saturday extended an emergency declaration initially set for a handful of Florida counties to apply statewide.
DeSantis has urged Floridians to monitor the storm and take precautions as it approaches.
Tropical Storm Ian comes just a week after Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico, bringing dangerous wind and flash flooding conditions and at one point cutting power to the entire U.S. territory.
After tearing past Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, Fiona made its way north to hit Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada as a post-tropical cyclone.
Ian is expected to push past Jamaica and Cuba before approaching the Florida Keys and becoming a “major hurricane” by the time it nears Florida’s west coast, according to the most recent forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.
“Regardless of Ian’s exact track and intensity, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of the week,” the forecast reads.