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Cuomo: 'When You Lose a Family, There's No Damage Like That' After Smithfield Tornado Kills 4

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Albany/HV: Cuomo: 'When You Lose a Family, There's No Damage Like That' After Smithfield Tornado Kills 4
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SMITHFIELD, N.Y. -- Extreme weather events are becoming more and more familiar to upstate New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that 11 federal disasters have been declared in the state in the past three and a half years.

"This new normal of extreme weather is a challenge for government, it's a challenge for first responders, and it's a challenge for every citizen in this state," said Cuomo.

The sun rose on a somber scene along Goff Road in the Town of Smithfield. What used to be houses were reduced to rubble, with residents left to pick up the pieces.

"There was damage in Lewis County, Jefferson County, Onondaga County, but nothing, nothing like what happened here in Madison County," said Cuomo.

"The winds were so high there that one of the homes was lifted off the foundation, carried approximately 150 yards, and came down on another home down there. Luckily that home was not occupied," said Riley.

Cuomo toured the damage, first from the air, then on the ground.

But there's also destruction that can't be seen. Four lives were lost when the tornado touched down.

Kimberly Hilliard, 35, and her 4-month old daughter, Paris Newman, who were in a home on Goff Road when the tornado hit; 70-year-old Virginia Warner, who was in a trailer nearby; and 53-year-old Arnie Allen, whose house was the one picked up by the wind and dropped on the other structure.

Cuomo said the state will work with the county to help residents rebuild, but cleaning up doesn't mean the real damage can be easily erased.

"This tragic event affected all of us in Madison County, not just the residents up there. My heart goes out to the family of the victims there," said Riley.

"Houses, we can replace. Buildings, we can replace. When you lose a four-month-old baby, when you lose a family, there's no damage like that," said Cuomo.

Photo Gallery: Check out the storm damage as seen by our viewers.


Watch the full press conference (computer browser required)


Albany/HV: Cuomo: 'When You Lose a Family, There's No Damage Like That' After Smithfield Tornado Kills 4
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