Cuomo talks Hurricane Irene, State Fair memories on opening day

Michaela and Governor Andrew Cuomo at Fair. / Photo by Matt Mulcahy.

Governor Andrew Cuomo paid a visit to the Syracuse area Thursday for the traditional opening ceremony to the New York State Fair.

Cuomo greeted a number of fairgoers, and during his walking tour he answered several questions from reporters, including CNY Central's Matt Mulcahy.

When Mulcahy asked the governor about preparations for Hurricane Irene, he replied, "They are underway. We have been working on it for a number of days. It is a serious situation. We want to be prepared, we want to get the facts and hope for the best, but some of the models show that New York would be in the path of Irene. So we want to make sure we can do everything we can do, and we have all state agencies activated and we're working with local governments across the state. We're going to stay on it and we're going to know exactly what's happening."

Cuomo has already declared a state of emergency in New York in preparation for the potential impact of Hurricane Irene, which may hit the state this coming weekend. Parts of the state that are along the coast, such as Long Island and New York City, are considered most at risk. Inland locations could also be affected by heavy rainfall and strong winds.

Because of Irene, the governor is cutting his trip to Central New York short, skipping a fundraiser in Skaneateles to return to Albany.

"In this emergency I am activating all levels of state government to prepare for any situation that may be caused by Hurricane Irene," Cuomo said in a statement to the media. "We are communicating with our federal and local partners to track the storm and to plan a coordinated response, and we will deploy resources as needed to the areas expected to be hit the hardest. I urge New Yorkers to personally prepare for hurricane conditions and to cooperate with emergency officials if needed. By working together, we will all be able to face this storm in a calm and organized manner."

Cuomo also talked about the State Fair, calling it "Important to the entire state... the challenge now is to keep it going, keep it stronger every year." During his tour, he visted the 9/11 Memorial and ate a sausage sandwich at the Gianelli booth with his daughters.

The governor said he remembers coming to the fair with his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo.

"I'm passing the tradition on to my kids, so it's nice" he said.