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Obama Heading To Alabama To Assess Storm Damage

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will travel to Alabama on Friday to assess the damage caused by storms ravaging the Southeast this week, the White House announced Thursday.

Obama will meet with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), local officials and families affected by the severe storms and tornadoes ripping across the state. More than 200 people have died from storms hammering regions between Mississippi to Georgia; most deaths have been in Alabama.

"While we may not know the extent of the damage for days, we will continue to monitor these severe storms across the country and stand ready to continue to help the people of Alabama and all citizens affected by these storms," Obama said in statement.

Earlier Thursday, the president spoke to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to discuss disaster relief efforts. Obama signed an Alabama emergency on Wednesday night, which authorizes FEMA to provide any resources deemed necessary to aid the state.

During their conversation, Obama asked Fugate to visit Alabama Thursday to personally work with state and local officials. Napolitano is already in Missouri meeting with local officials and touring the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, which sustained damage from tornadoes last week.

Click here to see a picture of Obama on the call.

The president postponed a White House event honoring the BCS National Champions, the Auburn Tigers, to make the trip.

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