Senators and Congressmen from Virginia urged President Trump Monday to declare a federal emergency before Hurricane Florence makes landfall later this week. The congressional delegation wrote in support of Gov. Ralph Northam’s request that a federal emergency be declared.
“A federal emergency declaration would ensure the full availability of federal resources to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to guarantee public safety and rapid recovery from the direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence,” they wrote. “Thank you for your consideration of Governor Northam’s request. We look forward to working with you, FEMA, and other relevant federal agencies to ensure that the Commonwealth of Virginia has the resources available to ensure the safety of our constituents.”
Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with Reps. Rob Wittman (R), Scott Taylor (R), Bobby Scott (D), A. Donald McEachin (D), Tom Garrett (R), Bob Goodlatte (R), Dave Brat (R), Don Beyer (D), Morgan Griffith (R), Barbara Comstock (R), and Gerry Connolly (D) all signed the letter.
The hurricane has already prompted mandatory evacuation orders in the Carolinas and Virginia. Florence was upgraded twice Monday to a Category 4. It has the potential to become a Category 5 storm, the National Hurricane Center says, and it is expected to make landfall in North or South Carolina by Thursday.
The evacuations in Virginia will begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday for about 245,000 residents in part of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore area.
"Everyone in Virginia needs to prepare," Gov. Northam said. "This is a serious storm and it's going to affect the entire state of Virginia."
President Trump tweeted Monday evening that he had just spoken on the phone with the governors of the states that will be affected and he is on standby with any assistance they need from the federal government. He also encouraged people to be safe and follow the directions of state and local officials.
Just had calls with South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam regarding the incoming storm. Federal Government stands by, ready to assist 24/7.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2018
My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years. Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2018
Was just briefed via phone by @DHSgov @SecNielsen and @FEMA @FEMA_Brock, along with @VP Mike Pence and Chief of Staff, John Kelly on incoming storm which is very dangerous. Heed the directions of your State and Local Officials - and know that WE are here for you. Be SAFE! pic.twitter.com/sN8D5NvrBa— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2018