President Joe Biden has postponed his scheduled trip to Florida due to Tropical Storm Ian looming over the Caribbean Sea.
He was scheduled to visit Orlando to headline a rally for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on September 27th, but the major storm is expected to strengthen to a Category 3 or 4 before making landfall on the mainland U.S.
Biden declared a state of emergency for Florida on Saturday and authorized the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in recovery efforts for those impacted by the storm.
The White House did not say when the president intends to reschedule his trip.
US President Joe Biden on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D,C., US, on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.
(Bonnie Cash/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties. He is also urging Florida residents to make preparations for its arrival.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
A Publix store in Metrowest was nearly sold out of water on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.
(Cristobal Reyes/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
“I encourage all Floridians to continue to monitor the storm and listen to local officials,” DeSantis said.
Tropical Storm Ian is building strength over the warm Caribbean waters and, as of Saturday night, has sustained winds of about 45 mph. It is moving west at 16 mph.
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Ian over the central Caribbean on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
(NOAA via AP)
Computer forecast models show the storm tracking west of Tampa and making landfall over Florida’s panhandle early next week. The storm will continue to rapidly strengthen over the next couple of days.
Fox News’ Tara Prindiville and the Associated Press contributed to this report.