WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama says residents of the Gulf Coast should listen to local authorities and follow their directions as Hurricane Isaac approaches.
In brief remarks from the White House, Obama said, "we are dealing with a big storm" that could cause significant flooding and other damage.
Forecasters say Isaac has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds as it makes its way toward Louisiana.
Obama told Gulf Coast residents, "Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously."
Obama made the comments just before departing on a three-state campaign trip. The White House is aiming to balance leadership on the storm with the president's campaign plans.
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