Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said the state would not finish compiling damage assessments until Friday, but that Hurricane Irene will easily cost millions of dollars. And he added that it’s possible there will be further flooding.
“It will be obviously millions and millions of dollars, but we don’t know if all the damage is done,’’ McDonnell said.
Localities are expected to finish their estimates by the end of the week, but already some counties and cities are reporting millions of dollars of damage.
McDonnell, flanked by a pair of casually dressed U.S. cabinet members --Janet Napolitano of homeland security and Tom Vilsack of agriculture -- thanked the federal government for its response at a news conference late Tuesday at the Virginia Operations Center.
Napolitano assured residents and emergency workers that FEMA will not leave Virginia, and that any aid will be available despite reports that the agency does not have enough money for the disasters.
“I will leave Virginia today, but FEMA and DHS will not,’’ she said. “We will be here, be here with you through the aftermath of Irene.”
McDonnell, who is still determining whether to ask President Obama for a federal disaster declaration, said he does not worry about whether the federal government can pay its bills.
“They know the first and primary obligation of government is to promote public safety,’’ McDonnell said. “The Congress will do what it needs to do to make sure this incredibly widespread event — that probably affected 60 million people or so — that we’ll be able do our jobs at every level to make people whole.”