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Gov. Cuomo: National Guard is coming to help with wind storm cleanup

March 10, 2017 06:47 PM

Two days after winds ripped through the Greater Rochester area, Governor Cuomo appeared in Rochester and he says the National Guard is coming too.

Speaking with County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Mayor Lovely Warren Friday afternoon, the governor said that by Saturday morning there will be 200 National Guard people in our area. They will assist with things like clearing trees, transportation and shelter management.

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"Unfortunately, over the past few years, they've had too much experience, in dealing with emergency like these," the governor said of the guard. "The people of Monroe should feel comfortable with their qualifications."

"The amount of damage that was done is serious," said Gov. Cuomo, "When you talk about 300-400 being knocked down; the wind blows the trees fall, the branches fall, they take down wires and they take down poles."

The governor says that crews from across the state are assisting with putting power lines and poles back up. Right now, it's not clear if Rochester will qualify for federal aid in the storm cleanup.

"There are certain thresholds that you have to hit," the governor explained, "and [the federal government] -- not surprisingly -- have a complicated formula."

The governor says that they will first have to calculate the damage to the city, county and towns before they can figure out if federal funds will be available.

The wait

Gov. Cuomo disputed criticism about his wait to visit the area. The storms ripped through Wednesday night, putting thousands without power and leaving plenty of damage, but the governor didn't arrive in Rochester until Friday.

But, Gov. Cuomo says his team was in the Rochester area on Thursday. He also says he has been in contact with the city since before the storm hit.

"As you heard from the mayor, I spoke with her before the storm hit," said Gov. Cuomo, "during the storm and our teams were working from the getgo."

"The National Guard and the Public Service Commission as well as the New York Power Authority they did the real work and they started from day one," Gov. Cuomo added.

When pressed further about not arriving sooner, Governor Cuomo said, "Well, I'm here today."

WHECTV

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