Gov. Andrew Cuomo, arrived in Long Beach on Sunday afternoon to witness firsthand the damage wreaked by Hurricane Irene.
Cuomo visited the boardwalk at National Boulevard, outside the Allegria Hotel, which suffered considerable flooding after ocean waters surged over the 10- to 15-foot sand berms that were created on the beach there. He spoke with Long Beach residents, lifeguards, police and reporters.
“We did prepare for this storm and we had the advantage of advance notice,” Cuomo said. “If we had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the way we did it.”
Cuomo said that he and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who accompanied the governor in Long Beach, had worked together for days prior to Irene’s arrival.
“The storm could have been worse, there is no doubt about that, but do not underestimate the damage that has been done,” he said. “And this will go on for days, literally. So, I think it was very prudent that we did what we did, but it would have been worse if we had not.”
During his tour of the city, Cuomo was met by reporters, including Susan Candiotti, a CNN National Correspondent, who asked the governor about the economic impact of evacuations due to Irene.
"I am sure there was an economic consequence to it,” he said. “We could afford that more than we could afford the loss of life and significant property damage. I think because of the way we acted, we sustained much less damage in the long run."
Cuomo announced that about 1 million people statewide were without power, and that many of them would remain powerless for many days.
“The flooding is horrendous, especially in the Catskills, so it will be days and days of digging out from this,” he said.
Cuomo also announced that in the midst of the storm there was a minor earthquake in Altamont, a town outside Albany, where there is a dam and a power plant.
Reporters asked Cuomo if he had heard from President Obama regarding disaster relief. Cuomo said that the president and federal government responded quickly with aid.
“The declaration of a disaster was significant to the state because it brings in all sorts of reimbursement rates,” Cuomo said. “FEMA is a federal response agency and they were great partners to us.”
Cuomo praised New Yorkers for evacuating their areas prior to the hurricane coming and staying off the streets during the storm
“Sometimes in our darkest hours, New Yorkers shine brightest,” he said, “and I think this happened on this occasion.”