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Governor, senators fly over storm-damaged areas [Updated]
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other state officials conducted a helicopter tour Wednesday morning of areas damaged by superstorm Sandy, including Long Island Sound, Fire Island, Jones Beach and Long Beach.
Cuomo, Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and others flew over Long Island, New York City and Westchester County during the tour. Other observation points included Breezy Point — where 80 homes were destroyed by a storm-related fire, including Rep. Bob Turner’s house — JFK Airport and the Metro-North Hudson River line.
Officials planned to give a briefing at noon, according to Cuomo officials.
Update: Below are some of the highlight quotes from Cuomo and Schumer at the briefing:
Cuomo: NY death toll statewide "has gone up to 26 people."
Schumer after seeing Rockaways: "All the burned out buildings . . . it looks like pictures of London or Dresden after World War II"
Cuomo on restoring power: The "worst problem in the state is, I believe, going to be Long Island."
Cuomo: "It's breathtaking to see Breezy Point or Fire Island or Long Beach."
Cuomo on Monday night as the storm plowed through: "It looked apocalyptic . . . I've never seen New York look like that."
Cuomo on power crews: "Let's see what kind of job they do and then I'll tell you how they performed."
Cuomo on power companies: “The question is, were the utilities prepared? We’ll find out by how quickly they get the power back up.”
Cuomo: "I think the [state] preparations were all adequate. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I do not know what we could have done that we didn't do."
Cuomo: President Obama has suggested that "FEMA will largely pay those expenses" for recovery — 90 or possibly 100 %
Cuomo: "Part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality, extreme weather is a reality."
Cuomo on climate change effect: "For us to say this is once in a lifetime and it's not going to happen again would be shortsighted."
Schumer: "Bottom line: this is one of the biggest disasters to ever strike this state or, even, this country."
Schumer: "It is a national disaster and it needs to be treated that way."
Schumer: "The kind of thing we feared after 9/11, that lower Manhattan would become a ghost town, is happening for a few days."
Cuomo on his Westchester home: "We had a lot of trees down but we had power when I left."