U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is cancelling a planned trip this weekend to Poland as Hurricane Dorian approaches the U.S. mainland.
Vice President Mike Pence will attend the World War II commemoration in central Europe in his stead, Trump said in remarks in the Rose Garden, where he was marking the establishment of U.S. Space Command.
Trump said he is staying in Washington "to ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm."
"It's something very important for me to be here," the president said. "The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed."
Trump said he has informed Polish President Andrzej Duda that he will not be attending and will work to reschedule his trip.
Dorian is expected to make landfall in eastern Florida as a potentially devastating Category 4 Hurricane at some point this weekend. It is moving northwestward towards the U.S. state with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (137 kph).
It is currently about 400 miles (644 kilometers) east of the southeastern Bahamas.
Tropical storm-force winds could be felt in Florida as soon as Saturday evening or Saturday night, forecasters warn.
The National Hurricane Service is warning of an "increasing likelihood of life-threatening storm surge" along parts of Florida's east coast, noting that the threat of hurricane-force winds hitting that part of Florida "continues to increase."
"Residents should have their hurricane plan in place, know if they are in a hurricane evacuation zone, and listen to advice given by local emergency officials," the service said in its latest hurricane update.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Thursday a state of emergency for all of Florida due to the hurricane's "uncertain projected path."
"As it increases strength, this storm has the potential to severely damage homes, businesses and buildings, which is why all Floridians should remain vigilant. Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan,” he warned in a statement following a briefing at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
By Michael Hernandez in Washington