The Bush administration is ready to leap into action with help and resources as soon as Tropical Storm Katrina hits land, the White House said Thursday.
The storm gained strength Thursday and was expected to become a weak hurricane before making landfall overnight along Florida's southeastern coast. Even though residents of the heavily populated, hurricane-battered area seemed to be not too concerned about the coming storm, the federal government was taking no chances.
"The government is ready, we're watching and we're taking steps to make sure that people get to safe areas or take the proper precautions," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy, speaking from Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is vacationing until early September. "We're also moving to ensure that all relief and recovery resources are in place so that these efforts can take place real time following any storm event."
Amid intelligence briefings and a morning bike ride, Bush was being kept updated by aides on the storm's strength and travel path, Duffy said.
Federal officials were coordinating with local authorities, including Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida, on storm preparations, Duffy said.