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Federal Officials Helping Local Jurisdictions Prepare for Hurricane Isabel, says Bush - 2003-09-18

President Bush says federal officials are helping state and local authorities prepare for the impact of Hurricane Isabel. Mr. Bush will wait out the storm at the presidential retreat at Camp David.

President Bush got an early morning briefing from Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge about how federal officials are preparing for the storm.

"I am assured that the Homeland Security Department is in close contact with the states' emergency preparedness offices," said President Bush. "We have got pre-positioned equipment in place. Proper warnings have gone out. Communications systems are up and running, so that when the storm hits, the response for the citizens will be an effective response."

The hurricane forced President Bush to cancel Thursday events at the White House and leave a day early for the presidential retreat at Camp David, where he will wait out the storm in the mountains outside Washington. He met with Jordan's King Abdullah Thursday for talks originally scheduled for Friday.

Most schools in the Washington area are closed, along with most government offices. Hurricane and tropical storm warnings are in effect along the East Coast, from South Carolina to New Jersey. Nearly 50 million people live in the path of the storm.