Healey surveys flood damage in western Mass.

After seeing the damage from Monday's deluge and the flooding it left in its wake both from the air and up-close, Gov. Maura Healey promised local officials and residents of the Pioneer Valley and Berkshires that her administration "will do everything that we can to make sure that we are assisting our communities, assisting residents who are dealing with varying degrees of loss right now."

The governor visited Williamsburg and North Adams on Wednesday morning to see for herself the devastation caused by significant rainfall and a swollen Connecticut River fed by even heavier precipitation in Vermont. Rep. Natalie Blais, who represents the district just north of Williamsburg, said on Tuesday that residents of Franklin County were reeling after heavy rainfall washed out roads, flooded basements and fueled rapid rises in the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers.

Healey helicoptered from Hanscom Field in Bedford to Northampton and then visited a fire station in Williamsburg, which is north of Northampton and west of the Connecticut River, with Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Acting Director Dawn Brantley, Sen. Paul Mark, Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa and local officials.

A reporter for 7News tweeted a video of Healey, wearing an olive green jacket and aviator sunglasses, shaking hands with local officials during the Williamsburg stop.

While in the air aboard a state helicopter, Healey was able to survey some of the damage the storm inflicted upon Franklin and Hampshire counties.

"When you look at the Connecticut [River], for example, and just how brown it is, I mean, you see the sediment and just, you know, you can see, you know, what's happened in terms of erosion and what that has done. You can see the flooding that's still — and I know we've had a couple days where waters have receded — but they're still very high," Healey said in Williamsburg, according to a video of the press conference posted by WWLP-TV. "And so, you know, it gives you a very good sense of what was actually here and what people are still dealing with."

From there, Healey again boarded the chopper to head northwest to North Adams, where Mayor Jennifer Macksey said the initial estimate is that the storm resulted in $2 million in damage.

"Governor, we just need help," Macksey said, according to another WWLP-TV video. "We need help from the state and the federal level, not only to rebuild what we see today, but also to work on long-term fixes throughout our community."

Healey said Wednesday that her administration had not been in touch with the White House, which could declare a disaster and make federal aid available, and said she wanted to let MEMA and others conduct the appropriate damage assessments before making "any calls or judgments."

"We're going to work to try to find ways to provide assistance and support. I also just want residents to know that my heart goes out to those affected by this. It's really devastating," Healey said in North Adams. "We know that there are folks who had to be rescued, some may or may not be able to get actually back into a livable housing situation that they once had, and that's really devastating."


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