Politico

Cuomo prepares for a hurricane in his administration's final hours


ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’ll handle New York’s response to Hurricane Henri, which is expected to make landfall on Long Island about 36 hours before he turns power over to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“I am governor today, and I am in charge,” Cuomo said at a press briefing on Saturday.

Henri is expected to make landfall around noon on Sunday, the outgoing governor said, and be a “26-hour event.” Cuomo is due to resign at 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

The timing resurfaced some criticisms of the lengthy transition period that resulted when Cuomo announced earlier this month that he’d resign following sexual harassment revelations, but not for 14 days. The governor defended the length of the transition, which Hochul has previously said was “not what [she] asked for.”

“The two weeks was to have an orderly transition,” Cuomo had said. “There’s a lot to transitioning a government. I’m the longest serving governor in the country right now. You don’t just flip a switch and turn over a government — you don’t want a mass exodus of people. You don’t want a situation where you don’t brief the incoming administration on the important projects, etcetera. Normally you have after an election two months, you have November and December, to transition governments.”

Cuomo warned Saturday that the hurricane could be similar to Superstorm Sandy, which battered New York City in 2012, his second year in office. He announced that he’ll declare a state of emergency in much of New York’s eastern half, and that some Long Island Rail Road routes will stop running at midnight.

He also delivered a warning to those in the storm’s path — know when it’s time to go, and don’t stick around any longer than absolutely needed.

“I know New Yorkers are tough, and I know their first instinct is ‘we don’t have to go anywhere, we’re going to batten down the hatches and we’re going to be fine.’ I understand that instinct,” Cuomo said. “New York tough also means New York smart and New York smart, today, means get out of harm’s way, please.”

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