(AP) — President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in Virginia as Hurricane Florence approaches.
Trump announced the action Tuesday. It comes after he approved a similar declaration for North and South Carolina, which are currently in the bulls-eye of the powerful Category 4 storm. The action frees up federal funds and resources.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center forecasts as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain, if not more, for parts of North Carolina. Rain could reach as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) elsewhere in North Carolina, Virginia, parts of Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, but no federal emergency has been declared in the nation’s capital.
President Trump said the safety of the American people is his “absolute highest priority” as Hurricane Florence takes aim at portions of the East Coast.
Trump was being briefed by the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Oval Office on Tuesday.
He says the federal government is ready to respond to the Category 4 storm.
FEMA administrator Brock Long is warning that the hurricane will be a “devastating event” and urging Americans to evacuate if they’ve been asked to leave their homes. He says electric power could be out for weeks.
Trump declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina and Virginia and canceled campaign events Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm.