UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson has requested Governor Chris Christie lift travel restrictions on Brigantine, Margate and Longport after touring those areas on Wednesday, according to county officials. Christie, who was in Brigantine with President Barack Obama Wednesday afternoon, must approve the request before residents can return to those areas.
UPDATE, 2:43 p.m.: President Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Christie returned to the airport just after 2:30. The two were picked up by a cavalcade to be driven to Brigantine, where they are expected to make a statement about the devastation left by Tropical Storm Sandy.
ORIGINAL: President Barack Obama has arrived in New Jersey for an aerial tour of the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Sandy, which hit landfall in Atlantic City Monday night.
Air Force One arrived at Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 31. Obama was greeted by Gov. Chris Christie, and the two promptly boarded a green and white helicopter, headed for Atlantic City.
Neither Obama or Christie made a statement or took questions from the media. They are expected to make a stop at the Marina in Brigantine, where they are scheduled to make a statement.
The tour is expected to last a few hours, with the estimated time of return to the airport set for 4:40 p.m.
"This visit by the president is extremely imortant," said Congressman Frank LoBiondo, who was in attendance for the president's arrival Wednesday afternoon. "I'm pleased the president honored Gov. Christie's emergency declaration so quickly. ... The real work is yet to come. The president being here reinforces that New Jersey took the direct hit."
LoBiondo called the president's quick arrival in the state "a model of how to move quickly."
"I just hope we don't see the bureaucracy get in the way from here," LoBiondo said.
LoBiondo has already seen the damage in western Cumberland County, Cape May and Atlantic County.
"There's a lot of standing water," LoBiondo said, adding that the dunes have prevented many properties from being damaged. "It's a testmanent to the army corps of engineers and the managers in the different municipalities who were so well prepared."