The US President travels to Louisiana today to get a first-hand look at the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida, the storm that devastated the southern portion of the state and left one million people without power.
Joe Biden is to meet Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and local officials about the hurricane, which is providing the president with a tough test just after the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
Hurricane Ida struck the Gulf coast last weekend and carved a northern path through the eastern United States, culminating in torrential rains and widespread flooding in New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas on Wednesday.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the state had confirmed an additional two deaths overnight, bringing its total to 25. He said at least six people were still missing, meaning the death toll would likely climb higher.
"We're still not out of the woods," he told NBC News' "Today" programme, adding that his biggest concern following the wreckage was grappling with remaining high waters and damage. "We're going to clean up ... but it may be a long road".
The fifth most powerful hurricane to strike the US came ashore in southern Louisiana on Sunday, knocking out power for more than one million customers and water for another 600,000 people, creating miserable conditions for the afflicted, who were also enduring suffocating heat and humidity.
At least nine deaths were reported in Louisiana, with at least another 46 killed in the northeast.
"My message to everyone affected is: 'We're all in this together. The nation is here to help,'" President Biden said.
He will tour a neighbourhood in LaPlace, a small community west of New Orleans that was devastated by flooding, downed trees and other storm damage, and deliver remarks about his administration's response.
Mr Biden will take an aerial tour of hard hit communities, including Laffite, Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and Lafourche Parish, before meeting with local leaders in Galliano, Louisiana, the White House said.
Officials who have flown over the storm damage reported scenes of small towns turned into piles of matchsticks and big vessels hurled about by the wind.
Governor Edwards said he would present Mr Biden with a long list of needs including fuel shipments as most of the area's refining capacity was knocked offline and kilometre-long lines have formed at petrol stations and emergency supply distribution centres.
At the president's direction, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm authorised an exchange of 1.5 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to Exxon Mobil to relieve fuel disruptions in the wake of the hurricane.
Several refineries remain cut off from crude and products supplies from the south via ship and barge after portions of the Mississippi River were closed by several sunken vessels.
"This is the first such exchange from the SPR in four years and demonstrates that the president will use every authority available to him to support effective response and recovery activities in the region," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Mr Biden has also urged private insurance companies to pay homeowners who left in advance of the storm but not necessarily under a mandatory evacuation order.
"Don't hide behind the fine print and technicality. Do your job. Keep your commitments to your communities that you insure. Do the right thing and pay your policy holders what you owe them to cover the cost of temporary housing in the midst of a natural disaster. Help those in need," he said.
While Louisiana tried to recover from the storm, the New York area was still dealing with crippling floods from Ida.
People across large swaths of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut are coping with water-logged basements, power outages, damaged roofs and calls for help from friends and relatives stranded by flooding.
At least 16 have died in the state of New York, officials said, including 13 in New York City where deaths of people trapped in flooded basements highlighted the risk of increasingly extreme weather events.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told MSNBC that there would be a need to implement travel bans and evacuations more frequently ahead of storms. He said he was putting together a new task force to tackle the issue.
"We've got to change the whole way of thinking" in how to prepare for storms, Mr de Blasio said. "We're going to need them to do things differently."
President Biden approved an emergency declaration in New Jersey and New York and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts, according to the White House.
"Because of climate change, unfortunately, this is something we're going to have to deal with great regularity," said Kathy Hochul, New York's newly inaugurated governor.
Climate change is happening right now.— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 2, 2021
It is not a future threat. It is a current threat.
Record-breaking floods are the new normal and we must work to increase resiliency and support green infrastructure.
The number of disasters, such as floods and heat waves, driven by climate change has increased five fold over the past 50 years, according to a report earlier this week by the World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency.