Biden says he has coordinated with governors, electric utilities on Hurricane Ida

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday said he has spoken to governors of states in the Gulf of Mexico region and has coordinated with electric utilities in preparation for Hurricane Ida, the powerful storm expected to make landfall late Sunday.

"We've prepositioned food, water, generators and other supplies in the area. Power restoration and mobile communications support teams are also en route. We've also closely coordinated with the electric utilities to restore power as soon as possible," Biden said at a briefing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Hurricane Ida intensified on Saturday and the reach of its winds expanded over warm Gulf of Mexico waters, prompting tens of thousands to jam Louisiana highways as they fled the seashore. Utilities were bringing in extra crews and equipment to deal with expected power losses from the storm.

Biden said FEMA deployed 500 emergency response personnel in Texas and Louisiana ahead of the storm, in addition to 2,000 FEMA workers already supporting the COVID response in the region.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Doina Chiacu and Lucia Mutikani; Writing by Chris Prentice; Editing by Andrea Ricci)