Obama to inspect flood damage in New Jersey

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The Passaic River continues to threaten bridges and businesses Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, in Paterson, N.J., as the effects of Hurricane Irene continue to leave areas of northern New Jersey flooded. Flooding continues to hamper recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene in northern new Jersey while residents can begin seeking aid under a disaster declaration signed by President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A week after Hurricane Irene caused major flooding as it barreled up the East Coast, President Barack Obama is getting a firsthand look at the damage in New Jersey.

In Paterson, the state's third-largest city, the Passaic River swept through the once-booming factory town of 150,000, flooding its downtown and forcing hundreds to evacuate.

While Obama visits the Northeast, federal officials kept watch on Tropical Storm Lee, which dumped torrential rains across the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts and caused flooding concerns. Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina six years ago.

In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie will lead Obama on a tour of Paterson's flood damage.

Christie, who at times has criticized Obama for not showing decisive enough leadership, has had nothing but praise for the president's handling of Hurricane Irene.