Governor Andrew Cuomo, who says he spent a “frightening” night monitoring storm devastation in lower Manhattan, held a briefing addressing short term repair efforts and long term weather concerns.
Governor Cuomo spent Monday night traveling lower Manhattan, including the Ground Zero construction site, where water was pouring in at one point. He says he saw many harrowing sights, including the Hudson River streaming into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel at the tip of Manhattan, and the Hudson and East Rivers rising up and converging in downtown New York.
“It was really frightening,” Cuomo said.
As the lengthy flood recovery begins, the governor says the “most devastating news” of Sandy’s effects is the death of 15 New Yorkers in the storm.
“My guess is, if anything, that number is going to get larger,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo and MTA Chair Joseph Lhota say many subway stations remain underwater, including South Street Station, where water is up the ceiling. Power is down on commuter lines as far north as Croton–Harmon in Westchester County, and as far east as New Haven, Connecticut. And there’s been flooding on the Long Island railroad.
City buses, largely undamaged, were to resume on limited schedule, with fares waived through Wednesday.
Wall Street will re-open for business Wednesday, but power will likely be out for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for several more days.
Cuomo says people should expect a “long term recovery and reconstruction” after Sandy, and he says the structure of the city’s transportation system may have to be redesigned. For instance, he says a transformer exploded Monday night when the seawater hit Con Edison electrical equipment.
“When hot electrical equipment hits cold salt water, that is bad combination,” Cuomo said. “That is a design flaw for our system now, if you anticipate these extreme weather conditions.”
And the governor says extreme weather occurrences are becoming more common.
“That is not political statement, that is a factual statement,” Cuomo said. “Anyone who says there’s not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality.”
Cuomo says after the devastation experienced upstate by storms Irene and Lee last year, and now Sandy downstate this year, no weather pattern would “shock” him at this point.