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Obama to visit N.J. to view Irene damage; death toll at 45

August 31, 2011 |  1:18 pm

Click here to see more pictures of Hurricane Irene.President Obama will visit Paterson, N.J., on Sunday to view the damage from Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene, the White House announced Wednesday.

Obama’s trip follows visits from Cabinet officials throughout the East, which was hit by the storm over the weekend. Irene made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday as a Category 1 hurricane and worked its way up the East Coast as a tropical storm.

At least 45 deaths in 13 states have been attributed to the storm. The damage has been estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, and 2 million people are still without electricity because of the storm.

PHOTOS: In the path of the storm

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate traveled to New York and New Jersey to survey the damage Wednesday. They and other officials visited Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont and Virginia on Tuesday.

New Jersey was especially hard-hit by the flooding that followed in the storm’s wake.

Mary Goepfert, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, told The Times via email that the flooded rivers in New Jersey have crested and have begun to recede. But, she said, a full cleanup is expected to take days.

At least 178,000 people in New Jersey remain without power, and advisories to boil drinking water remain in effect for at least eight municipal systems. About 10,000 people who heeded warnings to evacuate are still out of their homes.

RELATED:

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Irene continues trend of high-priced weather disasters

Tropical Storm Katia grows, expected to become hurricane

 --Michael Muskal

Photo: Floodwaters from the Passiac River fill the streets, covering automobiles -- including a Chevrolet SUV -- days after Irene pushed through Paterson, N.J. Credit: Mark Dye / Reuters

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