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September 27, 2022 Florida braces for Hurricane Ian

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The White House is closely tracking Hurricane Ian as it barrels toward Florida, with President Joe Biden receiving regular updates and speaking with local officials in the storm’s projected path ahead of landfall in the US. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hurricane Ian remains at Category 3. The storm’s winds rose slightly to 120 miles per hour, after decreasing as a result of making landfall over western Cuba. Ian is expected to continue strengthening and to hit Florida on Wednesday.

“(The) forecast can change, but for now the experts say this could be a very severe hurricane, life threatening and a devastating impact,” Biden said from the Rose Garden Tuesday at an event for lowering health care costs. “The administration is on alert and in action to help the people of Florida.”

Biden spoke with Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday evening, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted, “to discuss the steps the Federal government is taking to help Florida prepare for Hurricane Ian.”

“The President and the Governor committed to continued close coordination,” Jean-Pierre said

Jean-Pierre said earlier during Tuesday’s press briefing that Biden held separate calls with Mayors Jane Castor of Tampa, Ken Welch of St. Petersburg and Frank Hibbard of Clearwater.

Biden later said the mayors he called are “focused on the safety of their communities and they’re doing everything they can to get people out of harm’s way.” The President relayed that he “told each one of them in my conversations separately, whatever they need — I mean it sincerely, whatever they need — contact me directly.”

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