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‘Today’ Goes Coast-to-Coast, ‘Hoping that the Past is the Past’

“It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen up close.”

That’s Willie Geist‘s assessment of a day of reporting on the aftermath of Monday’s EF5 tornado in Moore, OK. “I think what you can’t convey is the scope of the damage.” Which is why people like Geist go to places like this — to try and describe it for us all.

Late Tuesday, Geist caught a flight to Chicago, where TVNewser caught up with him and his third hour co-host Natalie Morales. With Matt Lauer and Al Roker remaining in Oklahoma, and Savannah Guthrie back in New York, the Chicago remote was a remnant of an interrupted, week-long cross-country trip which began Monday in Hawaii.

Today will close out the week with a live broadcast from the Jersey shore where residents there continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Morales surveyed the Oklahoma devastation via helicopter Tuesday. “It was like a bowling ball, that was a mile-and-a-half wide, rolled through and completely devastated neighborhoods,” she says. “It sort of ties it all together, to talk about the Jersey Shore rebuilding.”

Along with special co-host, Gov. Chris Christie, Lauer, Guthrie, Roker, Morales, and Geist will all be on hand. Morales says the group is feeling “new energy” after a turbulent year in the morning show wars.

“We’re a much stronger team now for that. That’s where our true grit and our character have come through,” she says.

“I’m hoping that the past is the past. We just want to carry on and continue to do what we want to do best, which is, when a big story is breaking, like you saw in Oklahoma, we rally. We’re all there. We’re all about making sure people are getting the stories they want to hear and see.”

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