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Trump cancels Poland trip as Hurricane Dorian heads to Florida


US President Donald Trump on Thursday (local time) cancelled his trip to Poland to monitor the situation arising out of Hurricane Dorian, which is forecast to strengthen into a highly dangerous Category 4 storm during the weekend before hitting the Atlantic coast.
"It's something very important for me to be here. This storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed," the president said in a video posted on his official Twitter page.
"We are shipping food and water. But you may have to evacuate. The winds seem to be building at a very tremendous rate. It's heading in one direction and all indications are it's going to hit very hard and big. Just like Andrews. So just be aware and be safe," he added, apparently referring to Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, that struck the eastern coastal region of the United States in August 1992 and left 65 people dead.
Trump called Polish officials shortly before coming out to the Rose Garden to announce he would no longer be travelling this weekend, sending Vice President Mike Pence in his place, a White House official told CNN.
"To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm, I have decided to send our Vice President Mike Pence to Poland this weekend in my place," Trump said.
His trip -- slated to mark the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II -- will be rescheduled, he said.
Hurricane Dorian is expected to reach Florida on Labor Day.
The storm was previously projected to heavily impact the US territory of Puerto Rico, where residents are still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which killed about 3,000 people in September 2017.
Earlier today, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis sent a letter to the White House requesting a pre-landfall disaster declaration from the president ahead of Dorian's landfall.
According to the governor's press release, the declaration will provide important resources and assistance from the federal government, as well as free up funding sources for emergency protective measures to the state located along the Atlantic coast.
According to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, Dorian is predicted to pack winds reaching 130 mph (209 kph) in 72 hours.

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First Published: Aug 30 2019 | 12:42 PM IST

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