As Isaac gathers strength in the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters with the National Weather Center are tracking the path of the storm, while federal disaster response teams are already in place throughout the Gulf region, coordinating with state response centers. In a call with reporters earlier today, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Dr. Rick Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center, discussed those preparations and the latest potential trajectory for the tropical storm. Forecasters have issued storm warnings for an area stretching from central Louisiana to the Florida panhandle and through the course of the call, Fugate and Knabb stressed that now is the time to prepare for Isaac. Local residents should be ready to heed evacuation orders, if and when state and local officials issues those calls. While Isaac is likely to become a hurricane today, Fugate and Knabb urged those in the path of the storm to focus less on its particular classification and more on the storm's size and the potential for a storm surge that could reach 6 to 12 feet -- as well as record levels of rain fall. President Obama received a briefing from federal officials yesterday on efforts to prepare for the storm. FEMA's Instant Management Teams are already in place on the ground, and supplies like bottled water, food, and infant kits are being shipped to states under the storm warnings. FEMA is providing regular updates about efforts to prepare for Isaac at FEMA.gov . The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Service are also providing new severe weather watches and warnings as they gather new information. You can learn what to do before, during, and after a hurricane at Ready.gov .