PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The White House says President Barack Obama will be visiting Paterson, New Jersey on Sunday to survey the damage left by Irene.

“Maybe he can do something about it. A lot of people, they lost their houses,” Nancy Montez told CBS 2’s Lou Young of the President’s expected visit.

New Jersey was hit hard by the storm. Rain-swollen rivers throughout the state rose, sending flood waters into dozens of communities and prompting evacuations.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA toured the Garden State to view the damage first hand Wednesday. Obama also signed a federal disaster declaration for New Jersey, which will free up recovery funds.

Flooding continues to be a major problem in Paterson, where several streets turned into rushing rivers as the water churned over corners and down roads.

Residents are being told to boil their water before drinking, but even then, it seems suspect.

‘I bottled it in my empty bottles and you can see that it’s not clear. You can see that it’s brownish looking. And it tastes horrible,” one woman told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

The situation has been overwhelming for Louisa Taveras, who lost everything in the flood waters that have taken over the city.

“It’s like five feet of water inside the apartment and everything is under water,” Taveras tearfully told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan. “The fact that we work so hard to get what we have and then…to lose it.”

Taveras and her pregnant roommate, both college students, barely got out before the storm.

“The money that I did try to save up to get the baby stuff, I actually have to use now to get us food and everything,” Taveras’ roomate said.

However, both women said they were thankful their dog, Cleo, was rescued and staying at an animal shelter that has become known as “Hotel Irene” to so many dogs pulled from the raging waters.

“My heart goes out for these people.  It’s the least we could do is take care of their pets.  We rescued about 19 dogs and about 3 or 4 cats already,” John Decando, of the Paterson Animal Shelter, said.

There were 1,100 rescues of people in the city, where life has come to a standstill.  Bridges have washed away, cars are under water and stores are flooded and closed.

With residents dealing with the force of Mother Nature, one Paterson family was mourning the loss of an 18-year-old sister and daughter, who died from a diabetic attack as the raging waters moved in.

“I called the ambulance, it took them a minute for them to come over here…by the time they got here, it was too late. She was gone,” Rosetta Best said.

Meanwhile, thousands of customers are still without power.  JCP&L and PSE&G said that they expected to have most of their outages restored by late Friday night or the weekend.

There was some good news for New Jersey Transit riders as well.  The agency said it is restoring full service on the Montclair-Boonton Line. But there is still no rail service at Bound Brook because of flooding on the Raritan Valley Line.

Rail service on the Port Jervis Line is also suspended due to flood damage between Suffern and Harriman. Buses are being used there.

Should President Obama Visit Flood-Ravaged Paterson sooner than Sunday? Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. Donna says:

    How is 37 Main Avenue? That is where my extended family lived for many years. How is the Polish National Catholic Church??


  2. steev says:

    “Maybe he can do something about it. A lot of people, they lost their houses,” lolblackpeople

  3. Morris Bergen says:

    It’s not enough for New Jersey to receive federal disaster aid. That aid MUST come at the expense of New York City and be paid for with NYC tax dollars. We’re better than they are, and the only way to prove it is with money.

  4. Eastside Ghost says:

    No wonder that I,a native Patersonian,left years ago.It used to be a good town but now it is the laughing stock of NJ.

  5. Jerseyite says:

    I honestly have no idea what people expect that the president coming to a water soaked town is going to do for them. The Passaic River is one of the largest and strongest in the state of N.J. and hello, we did not just have showers this past weekend, we had a hurricane. Katrina should be a lesson to all, since new Orleans still has not been ‘Waterproofed’ either. Obama is not going to magically just scotch gaurd everything around the Passaic River. You leave near a river, or in a low lieing area near a river, expect water when there are heavy rain or winds. Water does take the path of least resistance………

  6. MediaTakesSides says:

    Doubtless he’ll be escorted by AL SHARPTON or that cities most famous resident…. who will SWIM to the cameras, if he has to… (Rev. Al of course, has lived there in NJ for 35 YEARS!!! — and NOT Harlem or Brooklyn.)

  7. Willy Drakker says:

    In 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated by Talmadge Hayer, a Nation-of-Islam hit man from Paterson. President Obama, beware of this city! !

  8. bob says:

    look for the left wing terrorists, to steal part of whatever funds, to support and build back some of their voter base, with the help of the mob {itialian}, why always nj, ca,ny , liberal strongholds, why do they have the voice for the people ?? they are the reason the country is sliding into third world nation

  9. Jeff says:

    Someone better find the nearest golf course not under water for Owe-Bama…u know this commie will sneak in at least 18 while in NJ

  10. Concerned American says:

    Watch for Bill Passacrella the inept congressman and news hound from paterson to make the headlines as he so graciously shows the mighty oh-bamma around …..they BOTH need to be retired next year!!

  11. Morris Bergen says:

    Of course, the two REAL tragedies of the hurricane are (1) there’s no way to blame Obama for causing it, and (2) we can’t bill NYC for the damage.

  12. Robin says:


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