President Donald Trump issued a video warning Wednesday urging those in the path of Hurricane Florence to “get out of the storm’s way” as the Category 4 storm looks set to drop record-setting rainfall.
“Hurricane Florence is fast approaching,” Trump said. “It’s going to be here over the next 48 hours, and they say it’s about as big as they’ve seen coming to this country, and certainly to the East Coast, as they’ve ever seen. We’ll handle it.”
Hurricane Florence is forecast to hit North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia as early as Thursday and is predicted to bring up to 40 inches of rain and 13 feet of floodwater, levels deemed “catastrophic” by experts.
The Category 4 hurricane was carrying sustained winds of 130 mph as of 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“Get out of its way,” Trump said. “Don’t play games with it. It’s a big one, maybe as big as they’ve seen, and tremendous amounts of water. The storm will come, it will go — we want everybody to be safe. We’re fully prepared. Food, medical, everything you can imagine, we are ready.
“But despite that, bad things can happen when you’re talking about a storm this size,” Trump continued.
During Trump’s two years as president, the US has seen numerous massive storms dealing significant damage. The administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the US territory of Puerto Rico last September, prompted contentious public exchanges between Trump and the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, that Trump resumed Wednesday.
Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan fiercely has criticized Trump’s response to the storm, telling CNN in August that Trump “killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect.”
Trump lashed out at Cruz on Twitter on Wednesday, calling her “totally incompetent.” He blamed the island’s poor infrastructure as one reason for a delayed US response.
Last month, Puerto Rico revised the official death toll from Hurricane Maria upward to 2,975.
Trump recently celebrated the US’s Puerto Rico response as an “unsung success.”