President Trump declared Thursday that his administration is “completely ready” for Hurricane Florence’s expected landfall along the East Coast.
Trump urged Americans to “be careful!” during the storm, which he claimed had strengthened. Florence was downgraded by the National Weather Service from a Category 3 to a Category 2 storm overnight, but was growing in size early Thursday. “We are completely ready for hurricane Florence, as the storm gets even larger and more powerful. Be careful!” he tweeted.
We are completely ready for hurricane Florence, as the storm gets even larger and more powerful. Be careful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2018
“I don’t care if this goes down to a Category 1,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said on Thursday. “We’re still going to have a Category 4 storm surge.” Current paths show Florence making landfall near Wilmington, N.C., before tracking inland. At least 800 flights have been canceled or grounded due to the storm’s expected landfall, CNN reported. As many as 1.5 million people are believed to live within mandatory evacuation zones. A similar-strength hurricane, Maria, struck the island of Puerto Rico last year, resulting in the deaths of nearly 3,000 U.S. citizens. “You put your life at risk by staying,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday. “Don’t plan to leave once the winds and rains start.”
–Updated at 9:06 a.m.