As though Congress didn’t have enough to sort out during the lame duck session this fall…

Meteorologists predicted that the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will be an event of epic proportion. And if that’s the case, it’s possible Congress could be forced to tackle an additional spending bill this year to help those in need and bolster funding of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For starters, FEMA is in much better fiscal shape right now than it was when Hurricane Irene churned up the eastern seaboard in September, 2011. FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund is believed to have more than an extra billion dollars on hand right now. To this point, 2012 has been a relatively mild disaster year compared to last year. And Irene nearly pushed FEMA to the brink.

Irene was a major storm and dumped a prodigious amount of rain on the east coast and in New England. It killed 56 people and cost $15.6 billion in the U.S. That made it the fifth costliest hurricane in American history. The storm ravaged bridges, tore down overpasses and washed out roads in Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and upstate New York. People and communities found themselves in major need as FEMA’s coffers already bled bone dry.