Governor Andrew Cuomo spent part of his morning touring the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and getting briefed on what has been done to secure it as Sandy approaches.
Cuomo is crisscrossing the state today, making sure everyone is ready when Sandy strikes tonight.
The governor said that it was crucial that residents of low-lying Zone A residents evacuate their homes and that New Yorkers remain indoors during the storm. "The storm surge is not going to be good, we know that for sure. It may seem fine now if you're outside now, it may look fine, but looks can be deceptive. There is no one who has any need to be on the streets today. They really don't," said Cuomo. "And if you look outside and say 'It's not so bad, I'm going out,' that's a mistake. We don't want them on the streets, we don't want them on the roads. We want emergency vehicles to be able to move around."
He toured the World Trade Center site with Steve Plate, the director of World Trade Construction. Employees of the Port Authority are working all day and night to prepare the site before the storm arrives.
"We've been preparing for days. The coordination is very good, all across the state. Agencies are working together very well. So we're really doing everything we can, I think, in terms of preparation. And we just have to see what Mother Nature has in store for us," said Cuomo. "We're focused on the storm surge itself, the wind will be high and there will be rain. But the storm surge is the one thing we really don't have a handle on. Look, whatever it is, we can handle it. We're New Yorkers, that's what we do."
Cuomo said he's been in constant contact with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other state officials.
"I worked in the Clinton administration as HUD secretary. One of the things I did was work on disasters and disaster reconstructions all over the country and across the globe. I've never seen a situation where all the officials are in lockstep like they are here," said the governor.
The Port Authority says the World Trade Center site has more than 80 pumps to deal with flooding from storm surge and overflowing sewers and prevent power outages and electrical fires. There are also another 250 pumps on-hand which can deal with problems.
Thirty of the pumps are permanent and "strategically located," according to the Port Authority, and another 50 temporary pumps are placed in construction areas.There are also thousands of sandbags placed around the World Trade Center site and the National September 11th Memorial to further prevent flooding.
Construction material and equipment has been secured around the cranes at Towers 1 and 4 and the part of One World Trade Center above the 88th floor.
Plate said those involved in World Trade Center construction started planning for Sandy a week ago. The director of construction He plans to ride out the storm at the city alongside a number of his workers.
"We have a series of walls to keep the water from getting here. I almost describe it as an island, to make sure that no water gets near the site. And if anything gets in we pump it right out to protect both the people and the equipment," said Plate. "The second part is the wind, and dealing with that and making sure everything is tethered down, all the equipment, all the material wrapped, tied down, nailed down to the slabs to make sure they are maintained in place."
Plate said he is sure his workers will encounter unexpected obstacles, but his team is prepared to adjust their plan as they go.
Cuomo's Monday Morning Press Conference On Sandy Preps
Mayor Bloomberg's Monday Morning Press Conference On Sandy Preps