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Cooper Tours Wilmington, Calls Storm 'A Monumental Disaster'

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and FEMA chief Brock Long visited Wilmington Tuesday afternoon to view damage from Hurricane Florence and meet out-of-state emergency workers camped at a shopping mall.

The governor's helicopter landed in a shopping center parking lot across the street. Cooper and other officials then visited a makeshift dormitory at the mall where they shook hands and thanked the workers.

“I want to say on behalf of a grateful state of North Carolina, thank you guys for coming, and helping us in our time of need,” Cooper told the group.

After the tour, he spoke briefly to reporters about his helicopter trip in.

“We saw a lot of flooded homes, flooded fields," he said. "We flew over Burgaw. They clearly have seen significant damage. We know that we have a long road ahead.”

Cooper said he couldn't even guess at a statewide damage estimate, because “damage is occurring as we speak, so we just … we know that this is a monumental disaster.”

In Wilmington and New Hanover County alone, officials offered a preliminary estimate of nearly $16 million.

Cooper and Brock also visited the shelter at a local high school and a food distribution point.   

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.