Hundreds of utility workers are headed downstate to help after Sandy ripped through the area. The governor toured the devastation by helicopter. Zach Fink has more.
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo arrived at the downtown helipad accompanied by New York's two U.S. Senators. During the storm, even this location suffered extensive damage when the East River crested on Monday.
Cuomo, Schumer and Gillibrand boarded a Black Hawk helicopter to get a firsthand look at the damage. Not only in Lower Manhattan, but some of the hardest hit areas of Queens, including Broad Channel and Breezy Point.
Cuomo said, "Our function now is to come up with a coordinated plan for the region."
The Governor says the total cost to government from Sandy could top $6 billion. He is asking for 100 percent reimbursement from the federal government. Private property estimates could run much higher.
The damage here so extensive, beyond New York City into Long island and Westchester. Officials say it could be weeks before a full assessment can be done.
Large swaths of lower Manhattan remain without power. An unprecedented development from a storm in the modern era.
Schumer said, "Last night I drove through lower Manhattan. It’s eerie to see all the lights out. No street lights. No traffic lights. And no glows from any of the apartments. everyone is gone. They kind of thing we feared after 9/11 that lower Manhattan would become a ghost town is happening for a few days fortunately, only a few days here."
Cuomo declined to speculate on whether the ferocity of the storm had any relation to global climate change, but did note that the region needs to be prepared for a new normal when it comes to weather systems
“Given the frequency of these extreme weather situations that we've had and I believe it’s an increasing frequency, for us to sit here today and say its once in a generation and it’s not going to happen again would be short-sighted," Cuomo said.
Officials say the city and state must begin a longer conversation about the design and location of some of the critical infrastructure that keeps the power on and mass transit running. Underground may no longer be viable.