There is no question New York and New Jersey clearly took the very worst punch of Hurricane Sandy last week. Dozens of deaths - nearly 40 in New York City alone - and massive property damage resulted from what some have called the storm of a lifetime.
Obviously, federal officials were absolutely right in making coastal states hurt badly by the storm a priority for recovery assistance.
That said, many West Virginians are hurting, too. While high wind and storm surges were ravaging some coastal areas, major snowfalls were occurring in our state. Some areas reportedly received more than three feet of wet, heavy snow. In some counties, nearly half the roads remained closed by snow and hundreds of people were trapped in their homes for several days. Many other people were forced to stay in shelters and some are still receiving food, water or other supplies from Red Cross volunteers.
At last count, several thousand customers still were without electric power in West Virginia, many in the mountain counties. Six storm-related deaths were reported in our state.
While the weather has warmed somewhat, clearing roads and allowing many people to begin needed repairs to their homes and lives, the storm's effects were still being felt on Election Day. According to published reports, voters in 14 precincts in Preston, Upshur, Lewis, Randolph and Tucker counties had to cast their ballots in precincts that had been moved to temporary locations, while four in Barbour and Tucker counties were forced to use National Guard-supplied tents on-site to provide electricity and heat.
We appreciate the fact that federal officials were quick to recognize the situation here and provide assistance to West Virginia.
Thank you, FEMA. And please remember many West Virginia residents continue to need help, too.