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Near-disaster in La. raises questions about evacuations | USA TODAY

With Hurricane Isaac still pouring down, a park ranger in southern Mississippi spotted an alarming sight: two 100-foot hunks of earth missing from the downstream face of Percy Quin Dam, the only barrier holding back the Tangipahoa Lake from the dangerously rain-swollen Tangipahoa River.

A few phone calls later, amid National Weather Service and media reports that the dam would fail, the Tangipahoa, La., parish president Gordon Burgess, just over the state line and downstream of the lake, called for nearly half of the rural parish to evacuate. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sent 200 buses to fetch evacuees and helicoptered with Burgess over Mississippi to survey the earthen dam himself.

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