Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is making preparations in the state for Hurricane Irma.
“FEMA is pre-positioning people and supplies to be able to come in right after the hurricane,” Nelson said Wednesday at a press conference at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center.
But due to the recovery from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the agency is set to run out of funds soon without an emergency funding authorization.
“If they don’t get it by Friday, they’re out of money,” Nelson said.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $7.9 billion disaster-relief fund for Harvey. Most of the money - roughly $7.4 billion - will go to FEMA. The U.S. Senate is set take up an emergency funding bill for FEMA Thursday.
Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio spoke to Florida Department of Transportation officials Tuesday about reversing the flow of traffic on southbound lanes of I-95 and the Florida Turnpike if mandatory evacuations are ordered.
“What we're suggesting is they make the interstates one way if there is the mandatory evacuation,” said Nelson, “so that you've got an additional two lanes three lanes all going in the same direction.”
The lane reversal technique is referred to as “contraflow.” Transportation officials have not yet confirmed whether or not they will change the flow of traffic.