WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned residents of the Gulf Coast on Tuesday that there could be significant flooding from Tropical Storm Isaac and encouraged people to evacuate if instructed by authorities to do so.
"As we prepare for Isaac to hit, I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate," Obama said at the White House before departing on a two-day campaign trip.
"Now is not the time to tempt fate, now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously," he said.
Obama's statement was meant to show he is taking the storm seriously, too, despite his campaign travel.
Isaac is expected to make landfall in the New Orleans area seven years after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Obama has criticized the Bush administration's handling of the Katrina disaster.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Lisa Lambert)