PRATTSVILLE, NY (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the damage caused to the state from Tropical Storm Irene will total $1 billion.

“The damage we have sustained in significant,” Cuomo said Wednesday in Prattsville. “And sometimes the bottom line is the bottom line and we need help on the economics.”

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WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reports: Prattsville Hit Hard By Tropical Storm Irene

Cuomo has been with the Federal Emergency Management Agency touring upstate New York’s flood ravaged areas.

Torrential downpours left a mess of mangled homes and destroyed bridges around Prattsville.

But Prattsville wasn’t just flooded. Parts of it were leveled. The muddy turret that steamrolled through this near three-century-old tanning town lifted homes off of their foundations and swept some of them away.

Brian Young nearly lost his brother.

“He got swept away and he said ‘What the heck are you doing, pull me back I’m going down’ and I pulled him back with a garden house and I’m just like, Lord don’t let this break,” said Young.

He’s the third generation to run the family’s general store in Prattsville. The building was ripped from its footing and twisted.

But Young says he’s happy everyone made it out alive.

“This is nothing. We’re alive, we feel really blessed,” said Young. “I feel like I got a new lease on life.”

Prattsville wasn’t the only town to be hit hard. Much of upstate New York was left heavily damaged in Irene’s wake. 

“Over 600 homes destroyed, six towns inundated, 150 major highways have been damaged, 22 state bridges have been closed,” Cuomo said with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA director Craig Fugate.

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The governor said the damage in upstate New York is much worse than the damage in the New York City and Long Island areas.

“The Mid-Hudson, the Catskills the North Country, paid a terrible, terrible price,” he said.

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Cuomo said Irene also caused significant damage to the state’s agriculture. He said there is already $45 million in damage to 140,00 acres of farmland.

A farm truck and snowmobile moved by the flood waters from the Tropical Storm Irene sits in the middle of a farmers corn field along Rt.30 Schoharie, N.Y., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

But he said despite the heavy cost, New York state will rebuild.

“We are going to rebuild back better than ever before. We’re going to use this not just as an opportunity to not just restore but to actually make this a stronger community, a stronger town, a stronger county than ever before.”

Later today, Napolitano and Fugate will head to Morris County to meet with first responders and look at the damage caused by record-setting floods.

If residents register with FEMA right away, Fugate said they could get checks within days. The most an individual can get from FEMA is $30,000, but Fugate said if they qualify, many could get $2,000 to $3,000.

For more information about FEMA assistance, visit

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