U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Aug. 30, 2019. Donald Trump on Friday approved state of emergency declaration request from Florida as the powerful Hurricane Dorian marched closer to the state. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved state of emergency declaration request from Florida as the powerful Hurricane Dorian marched closer to the state.
"The president's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts," the White House said in a statement.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in the state that could potentially be in the hurricane's path. He expanded the emergency status to all of Florida's 67 counties Thursday "due to Hurricane Dorian's uncertain projected path," he said in a statement carried by his website.
DeSantis said on Twitter Friday that he sent Trump a letter requesting his approval of the state of emergency declaration. "Thank you, Mr. President for your continued support of Florida."
According to the latest forecast by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued 11 a.m. ET on Friday, Dorian became a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles (175 km) per hour.
The current wind speed indicates that Dorian is 1 mile per hour short of being a Category 3 hurricane, which has maximum sustained winds of 111-129 miles (178-208 km) per hour. Hurricanes are categorized into five levels by scale, and anything above Category 3 is considered a "major" hurricane.
Now near the Bahamas, the hurricane was moving northwestward near 10 miles (17 km) per hour, according to the NHC. It is expected to hit Florida as early as Monday, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.
In addition, DeSantis said Thursday that the state also activated 2,500 members of the Florida National Guard to cope with the imminent threat, with an additional 1,500 on standby.
Trump said Thursday that he decided to cancel a planned trip to Poland during the weekend and will stay in Washington "to ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the coming storm."
Speaking at the Rose Garden of the White House, Trump said Vice President Mike Pence will travel in his place. "It's something very important for me to be here. The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed."