Gerald Herbert, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Louisiana Monday as that state and others along the Gulf Coast prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac.
The White House said Obama informed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal of the emergency declaration in a phone call Monday. The declaration makes federal support available to save lives, protect public health and safety and preserve property in coastal areas.
Obama has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts with state and local officials along the Gulf Coast. FEMA has placed incident-response teams at emergency operations centers in Gulf states and has moved two support teams near areas where the storm could hit. More teams also are ready to be deployed if necessary, the White House said.
FEMA has distribution centers in Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth area, and in coordination with the Defense Department, has pre-positioned supplies in Jacksonville, Fla. and Montgomery, Ala., closer to areas where the storm could hit.
Forecasters predict Isaac will intensify into a Category 1 hurricane by Tuesday, with a projected path directly toward New Orleans on Wednesday. Isaac could become the first hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast since 2008.
Obama also spoke Monday with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and other federal officials have had calls with governors and tribal and local leaders to discuss storm preparations.
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