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FEMA says it's ready for hurricane season with budget boosted by COVID-19 stimulus

President Donald Trump listens as he receives a briefing on the 2020 hurricane season Thursday in the Oval Office. Pool Photo by Doug Mills/UPI
President Donald Trump listens as he receives a briefing on the 2020 hurricane season Thursday in the Oval Office. Pool Photo by Doug Mills/UPI | License Photo

May 28 (UPI) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is "in a really great place" in terms of funding as hurricane season gets underway, the agency's chief said Thursday.

FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said the agency typically starts hurricane season with $40 billion in disaster-relief funding. This year, though, the federal government has nearly double that.

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"That's the result of Congress appropriating nearly $40 billion for COVID-19, so we're in a really great place when it comes to funding, personnel and supplies," Gaynor told President Donald Trump during a hurricane briefing in the Oval Office.

The briefing comes days after federal meteorologists predicted an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. The Climate Prediction Center said there will likely be between 13 and 19 named storms this year, six to 10 of which will become hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, three to six will be major.

"So you think we can have a slightly enhanced hurricane season? That's just what we want," Trump joked with Gaynor during the briefing.

"Are we ready?" Trump asked.

"FEMA is always ready, sir," Gaynor replied.

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