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11:05 AM
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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La. Parish President: Isaac "Is Not a Category 1 Storm"

Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser was audibly distraught in discussing the extent of the storm in his jurisdiction southeast of New Orleans.

As Hurricane Isaac rolled onto the southern Louisiana shore this morning, we were treated to the usual shots of Jim Cantore and Al Roker hanging on for dear life as they stood in the whipping wind and rain.

But farther to the south, some real drama played out. In Plaquemines Parish, La. — described on Wikipedia as "the parish with the most combined land and water area in the U.S. state of Louisiana" — water overtopped the region's levee system, stranding some residents on their roofs. Parish president Billy Nungesser gave an interview to an area television station, WWL, and had this to say:

When we saw the storm surge of nine to 12 feet, we knew we had an 8 1/2 foot levee, we knew we had to get the people out. We had hoped the storm would slow down or turn; instead it increased in speed and wind and slowed down to where it continues to batter those levees and push water in. This is not a category 1 storm.

Indeed, Isaac's stalling out over New Orleans is expected to shatter the regional rainfall record, putting major flood damage squarely on the radar. The Insurance Information Institute reports that there are roughly 489,336 flood insurance policies in force in Louisiana.

You can watch the entire report on the plight of Plaquemines Parish below. Nungesser's insistence that the storm is stronger than widely viewed begins at about the three-minute mark.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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