Trump leaves for storm-ravaged Florida to assess damage

Trump to visit Florida on Thursday to survey Irma damage

The National Hurricane Center said, in its latest advisory, that Irma, now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, is about 5 miles north of Naples, Florida.

President Donald Trump is set to travel to Florida on Thursday, to visit with first responders who were on the ground during Hurricane Irma.

The trip will be Trump's third related to hurricane response in just over two weeks.

Throughout the storms, Trump has been eager to project a high level of federal competence and to avoid pitfalls made by some of his predecessors in the face of natural disasters. "I don't know what he's going to do".

Mr Trump, who was in and out of the state in less than three hours, got an aerial view of water-deluged homes along Florida's south-western coast from his helicopter, then drove in his motorcade along streets lined with felled trees, broken traffic lights and shuttered stores on his way to a mobile home community hit hard by the storm. Most thanked them. One man yelled, "Make America Great Again!"

Last week, Trump cut a deal with Democrats in Congress to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for Harvey, while raising the US government's borrowing limit and funding the government through December 8.

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In addition to severe flooding across Florida and extensive property damage in the Keys, residents faced widespread power outages that initially plunged more than half the state into darkness. Another told Trump that he had "married well".

Trump says alongside Scott and other Florida officials that he knows "at a certain point it ends for you and we can't let it end".

Trump was to arrive in Fort Myers, where he's scheduled to meet with local officials and receive a briefing on relief efforts.

Nevertheless, millions of residents in Florida remained without power on Friday, a unsafe scenario amid high temperatures in the state. Many communities are still cleaning up or without power or air conditioning.

The situation was even worse to the south in Collier County, home to Naples. In nearby Broward County, 300,000 were without electricity.

Ken Thomas reported from Washington.

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