Friday, November 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

Obama warns Gulf Coast to heed directions, not to 'tempt fate'

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Obama warns: Heed directions, don't 'Tempt fate'

Worried about likely flooding from Hurricane Isaac, President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to local authorities and follow their directions. "Now is not the time to tempt fate," Obama said. Hours later, he declared that an emergency exists in Mississippi and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local storm response efforts there. Obama made brief remarks about the storm just before departing on a two-day campaign trip to Iowa, Colorado and Virginia. Obama aides said that while there were no current plans to change the president's travel itinerary, the White House was monitoring the storm and would adjust his schedule if necessary. The president declared a state of emergency in Louisiana late Monday, more than 24 hours before the storm was expected to hit the Gulf Coast. The declaration makes federal support available to save lives, protect public health and safety and preserve property in coastal areas. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, said the declaration fell short of the help he was requesting. Jindal wants the federal government to pay for all emergency protective measures. Asked about the criticism, White House press secretary Jay Carney said there would be time to explore whether additional disaster declarations are needed.

BP money could help in Isaac defense

Barriers built with BP money to stop the Gulf oil spill in 2010 could prove effective against storms like Isaac. That is at least the hope on Dauphin Island, Alabama's largest barrier island, where island and state officials have used money from the oil company to build dunes and a rock wall. Louisiana officials, meanwhile, have spent more than $200 million on sand berms off their state's coast. Officials are worried that the hurricane could stir up tar and oil left behind from the spill.

KIRK FORMS: Tropical Storm Kirk formed far out in the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday but currently poses no threat to land. Kirk, with winds of 45 mph and higher gusts, was centered about 1,230 miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.

Times wires

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