MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Barack Obama pledged the federal government's help Thursday in recovery

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after massive flooding hit many parts of Minnesota this month, telling a town hall audience near the roaring Minnehaha Falls that they'll have a strong partner when they know how severe the damage is.

Obama said he was briefed by Gov. Mark Dayton on high waters that have swamped farm fields, washed out roads and flooded towns and homes in the past week.

"I told the governor that we will be there as we get some clarity about the damage and what needs to be done," Obama said.

The Dayton administration is currently preparing a federal disaster request that could eventually free up federal aid.

Some Minnesota communities still face flooding threats. The Mississippi River was due to crest several feet above flood stage later Thursday and more rains were in the forecast. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who was on Air Force One with Obama after spending time this week in Washington, said his city expects to spend about $1.7 million in emergency preparedness and response.