- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 3, 2017

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday the government is shifting its focus to another hurricane even as it helps Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey.

FEMA director William “Brock” Long said his agency has deployed management teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to prepare for Hurricane Irma, which has strengthened to a Category 3 storm as it approaches the Caribbean.

U.S. officials say it’s important to prepare now, as Irma charts its path.

“Good to start thinking now about #HurricaneIrma plans,” Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, said on Twitter. “Think through what you will need to do if your area is placed on watch late next week.”

Mr. Long said Texas officials responded well to Harvey, which left widespread flooding and devastation in Houston and other parts of Southeast Texas.

Nonetheless, he wants federal lawmakers to make sure state and local governments have rainy day funds and other resources to be prepared for future storms, like Irma, before FEMA can swoop in.

“This is a wake-up call,” Mr. Long told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Back in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner said his city is getting back on its feet, with most of the flooding isolated to western and northern sectors of the city.

Right now, his priorities are funding for debris removal, “housing, housing, housing” and expedited assistance for first responders who have been helping others but face their own challenges at home, Mr. Turner said.

At the same time, he said the drinking water is safe, the electric grid is mostly functional and airports and transit are running.

He said he expects most employees to return to work on Tuesday, and that concerts, conferences and other sporting events should proceed as planned.

“The city of Houston is open for business,” Mr. Turner said.

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