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Washington DC (USA), Aug 1: U.S. President Donald Trump visited the state of Florida on Friday as Hurricane Isaias is approaching its southeast coast.
"It's pretty severe nevertheless. A lot of water coming in. It's approaching the Florida coast," Trump said during a roundtable with administration and state officials in Belleair, Florida.
"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, a Category 1 hurricane, 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 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts, according to the latest public advisory from the U.S. 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," the advisory said.
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 Friday night, the governor said he's requesting a pre-landfall emergency declaration from the White House for Florida.
The hurricane will come 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-percent margin, but most polls have shown him trailing former U.S. Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Source: Xinhua News Agency