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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

September 2, 2005

Gas lines and the "Wichita linemen"

Filed under Katrina

The past couple of days you would have needed some patience if you wanted to get some gas around here. This evening we had some welcome visitors from Kansas.

lining up for gas Although the situation improved a bit today, people have been waiting in line for up to four hours to buy gas here in Mobile. The two gas stations in the photo (Shell and Racetrac) are located at an exit from Interstate 10 about 5 miles from our house. Despite the dusk to dawn curfew, some people even lined up last night at one location and slept in their cars overnight to be near the front of the line to get gas. There were vendors walking down the line of cars in the morning, offering them breakfast snacks and hot coffee.

lining up for gas The line was pretty orderly, since there was a state trooper on hand to watch and also direct traffic from the main road into the line, which extended well into an adjacent shopping center parking lot. Many of the license plates were from Mississippi, so those folks had come over to Mobile to get gas. Several of those in line filled up their cars and also gas cans to run their emergency generators at home. Our neighbor has a pretty hefty generator, and he hooked up a long extension cord so we can run our refrigerator, which is a big help.

This evening we had some welcome visitors on Wooley Road. An electric utility vehicle from Kansas – I dubbed them the Wichita linemen – came down the road to clear all tree limbs off the power lines. The crew told us they had driven over 30 hours to get to Mobile, and when they are finished here their next stop will be in New Orleans. They are being lodged at the Mobile Convention Center along with a couple hundred other out-of-state linemen. Once the trees are cleared, Alabama Power can restore power, so perhaps in a day or two our power will be back on.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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