In an interview with the New England Cable Network prior to the survey trip, Governor Shumlin cited three confirmed deaths from the storm. In addition he noted "a huge loss of homes and businesses ... it seems like there's no end to the extraordinary destruction – not to mention the roads, bridges, and infrastructure."
All along Irene's path, some of the most welcome progress has come as utility crews have restored electricity to homes and businesses throughout the region.
By midday Monday, some estimates put the number of utility customers without power in the 12 states Irene affected at about 2.5 million, down substantially from the 5 million estimated the day before.
In Maryland, for example, Irene initially cut power to some 800,000 customers as of Sunday night, according to Ed McDonough, a spokesman for Maryland's Emergency Management Agency. Since a typical customer account provides electricity for more than one person, those 800,000 customers represent roughly 2 million people.
Today, about 250,000 customers are still waiting to reconnect to the grid.
In New York, power has been restored to about 530,000 customers of the 950,000 initially affected by Irene, according to Dennis Michalski, a spokesman for the state's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.