Damage from Isaac more than first estimated - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Damage from Isaac more than first estimated

MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Hurricane Isaac damaged nearly 59,000 homes as the slow-moving storm crawled across southeast Louisiana, according to the latest damage estimates released Friday.

The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said the most severe damage hit houses and rental units in St. John the Baptist and Plaquemines parishes, where flooding swamped some homes with several feet of water.

The latest estimates - 46,663 owner-occupied houses and 12,289 rental units damaged by the storm - were more than four times higher than the preliminary figures released a week after Isaac made landfall Aug. 28.

The damage data comes from door-to-door inspections of more than 120,000 homes done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after people registered for federal aid.

"The majority of housing inspections have been completed," state homeland security Director Kevin Davis said in a statement. "We'll continue to support parish leaders in their efforts to help communities recover from this devastating storm and will continue to advocate for residents who find themselves without homes as a result of Isaac."

Isaac came ashore in Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River as a Category 1 storm, relatively weak compared to other named storms that remain fresh in residents' memories. But its damage, particularly flooding, was significant in several parishes where water inundated homes.

By comparison, the devastation was less than one-third of the housing damage caused by the back-to-back blows of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which hammered Louisiana seven years ago. The combined storms damaged more than 200,000 homes across southern parishes, according to data from the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

Isaac's damage stretched across homes in 21 parishes, with the largest number of hit properties in Jefferson, Orleans and St. John the Baptist parishes. Isaac harmed nearly 13,000 homes in Jefferson Parish, about 9,800 homes in New Orleans and 6,900 homes in St. John.

But the storm's harm was harshest in St. John the Baptist Parish, where nearly one in four of the owner-occupied houses hit by Isaac had damage topping $20,000, according to the parish-by-parish data released by the state emergency preparedness office.

Around southeast Louisiana, nearly 5,600 houses and apartments were deemed to have severe damage, including 2,055 houses with damage estimates tallying above $20,000, according to the agency's figures.

The state emergency preparedness office cautioned that the data might not include every home damaged by Isaac, because some homeowners chose not to register for FEMA aid and didn't receive home inspections.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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