Updated 10/30/2012 06:59 PM
New York leaders begin to assess storm damage
Scenes of devastation in New York City, after Sandy battered the city Monday night and into the early hours of Tuesday. Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the city on Tuesday, touring the damage. Nick Reisman has more.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
NEW YORK STATE -- For the third time in two years, New York was walloped by a major storm. Flooding streets and homes, destroying property and costing billions of dollars in damage. Now Governor Andrew Cuomo says it's a sign that such super storms may be something New Yorkers need to get used to.
“It's not a political statement, it is a factual statement. Anyone who does not say there is a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality,” Cuomo said.
Last year it was tropical storms Irene and Lee that wreaked havoc across parts of the upstate region. This week, it was Hurricane Sandy that slammed into New York City and the surrounding area, forcing people in low-lying areas to flee their homes and causing widespread power outages. And each storm produces surreal images, like a 40 foot boat stuck on commuter rail tracks in Westchester County. Cuomo says when the city rebuilds, it has to do so with future flooding disasters in mind.
Cuomo said, “As we're going through the reconstruction and we're rebuilding, we have to find ways to build this city back better than it was ever before.”
Cuomo did not use the phrase climate change or suggest that human activity is creating the unusual weather patterns. Still, Cuomo said the reconstruction effort will be expansive.
“This is not going to be a short term situation,” Cuomo said. “This is going to be a long term recovery and reconstruction effort.”
One of the hardest hit areas of the city was Breezy Point in Queens, where a storm-related fire burned down nearly 80 homes, including those of Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long and Republican Congressman Bob Turner.
“My wife and I are pretty tough cookies. This is disappointing, but we can look around us and say this could been a lot worse and for some others it really is,” Turner said.
State officials now will be assessing the damage done by the storm, an all-too-familiar activity for a governor who has already dealt with damaging storms in his first two years in office.
“When the water recedes, you see the damage that's done. When the water recedes, you walk in to the home that's flooded and now you see the extent of the damage,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo did not say what new construction would be needed to prevent future flooding across the metropolitan area or what would keep subways and trains running in the event of another storm.