US President Joe Biden has travelled to Florida to pledge support to help the state recover from Hurricane Ian during a visit that includes a meeting with Governor Ron DeSantis, a possible rival in the 2024 presidential race.

"Everything - this historic and titanic, unimaginable storm ripped it to pieces," he said in a speech after witnessing the destruction.

"You've got to start from scratch."

The Democratic president and the Republican governor are at odds over scores of issues, including climate change, which experts blame for Florida's increasingly wet, windy and intense hurricanes.

Mr Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived in Fort Meyers earlier today, two days after visiting Puerto Rico, a US territory battered by Hurricane Fiona last month.

More than 100 people died and nearly 400,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Florida yesterday, five days after Hurricane Ian crashed across the state.

The Category 4 storm flattened whole neighborhoods on the west coast, knocking out power for millions of people, and then weakened before tearing into South Carolina and up the East Coast.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell said it would cost the federal government billions of dollars to repair the damage from the storm.

"We are still very much in the lifesaving and stabilisation mode. They are just beginning the assessments of what the actual extent of damages to the infrastructure. It's going to be in the billions," Ms Criswell told reporters on Air Force One.

During his trip Mr Biden will survey Florida's badly damaged Fort Myers by helicopter, before meeting with residents and disaster-relief officials, as well as Mr DeSantis, according to the White House.

"Mr President, welcome to Florida. We appreciate working together," Mr DeSantis said at the damaged waterfront neighborhood of Fisherman's Pass.

Mr Biden returned the warm words, saying Mr DeSantis had "done a good job."

"We have very different political philosophies, but we've worked hand in glove."

Marine One helicopter, with US President Joe Biden on board, surveys the damage caused by Hurricane Ian
Nearly 400,000 homes and businesses are without power following the hurricane

Mr Biden has been in regular communication with Mr DeSantis during the crisis and the federal government picked up a significant share of the initial disaster relief. Last week, Mr Biden said his relationship with Mr DeSantis is "irrelevant" but "very fine".

Mr Biden's main goal, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, was to check that "the people of Florida have what they need."

In addition to getting briefings from federal emergency management chief Deanne Criswell and Mr DeSantis, Mr Biden met small business owners and local storm survivors.

In his remarks, he emphasised togetherness saying: "This is the United States," he said in his remarks, stressing the word "united."

When Mr Biden visited Florida in July after a condominium complex collapsed and killed nearly 100 people, he said, "we're letting the nation know we can cooperate when it's really important," as he and Mr DeSantis sat shoulder to shoulder.

On climate change, Mr Biden has made reducing carbon emissions a focus of his presidency, while Mr DeSantis backed funding to harden Florida's defenses against flooding but also opposed some previous disaster-relief aid and pushed pension funds not to consider environmental impact when they invest.

Before Hurricane Ian hit, Mr Biden had planned a rally in the political battleground state last week.

Then, Democratic officials expected the president to attack the governor's approach, which has included shunning Covid-19 lockdowns, mocking Mr Biden's age and abilities, penalising Walt Disney World Resort for opposing state laws limiting discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools, and flying Venezuelan immigrants from Texasto Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.