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FEMA ready to handle an onslaught of hurricanes, official says

  • FEMA is using all the mechanisms available to it to respond to states affected by the hurricanes, FEMA's Katie Fox told CNBC.
  • Just two weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast, Hurricane Irma is hurtling toward Florida with Hurricane Jose on its tail.

The federal government is prepared to handle an onslaught of consecutive hurricanes, Katie Fox, acting deputy administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told CNBC on Friday.

Just two weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast, Hurricane Irma is hurtling toward Florida with Hurricane Jose on its tail.

"We're using all the mechanisms available to us to make sure that we have appropriate staffing to support the states with these disasters," Fox said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

Right now, personnel are in Florida in anticipation of Irma, and the team in Texas is still "completely engaged," she added. Teams are also in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Irma tore through the Caribbean and was set to hit Florida as early as Saturday night. FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned it will "devastate" part of the U.S.

The storm was a Category 5 hurricane before being downgraded to a Category 4 early Friday.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose has gained strength and is now a Category 4. It is about 400 miles east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"We have staff out in the field regularly. FEMA has 10 regional offices that have personnel in them that work closely with the states [and] territories all the time," Fox said.

On top of that, headquarters staff have been deployed and the agency can bring in additional help through Homeland Security and other federal agencies, she added.

"FEMA's got a reservist workforce that we call into action when we need them."

She advised those in areas that may be affected to download the FEMA app that has an emergency checklist and gives access to weather alerts and shelters in the area.

— Reuters contributed to this report.