PATERSON, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano planned on Wednesday to tour regions of New Jersey heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Irene.
Swollen rivers throughout northern New Jersey have reached or surpassed record flood levels since the storm hit over the weekend, authorities said.
Among the worst hit was Paterson, where the Passaic River slices through the city.
"It's raging right now," said Paterson Police Sergeant Alex Popov.
Some 1,500 people who live near the river have been evacuated, he said. Two shelters have been opened up.
"We've had to close streets we never had to close before," Popov said.
Christie and Napolitano planned to visit a firehouse in Lincoln Park, west of Paterson, which has been flooded by the Passaic and Pompton rivers.
They planned to provide an update on recovery efforts, according to the governor's office.
Christie said on Tuesday he was seeking expedited disaster assistance from the federal government, calling the hurricane "a catastrophe of enormous severity and magnitude."
Other flooded rivers include the Ramapo, Pequannock and Delaware.
About 190,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity as of mid-morning Wednesday.
(Additional reporting by Dave Warner in Philadelphia; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)