Past experiences now guide preparations

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cars line up at the Murphy USA gas station in the Walmart parking lot Monday evening. A gas tanker truck arrived to refill the station’s gas tank, as they were close to running out.

NATCHEZ — With Tropical Storm Isaac’s projected landfall as a Category 1 hurricane looming, some area residents say past hurricane experience has taught them to be prepared.

Hurricane Katrina taught Sybil Wroten a difficult lesson.

“It got crazy trying to get gas during Katrina,” she said as she pumped gas into her truck Monday afternoon at the Murphy USA gas station at Walmart. “People were lined up at the pumps and fighting. I want to get my gas ahead of time because a lot of stations were out last time.”

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Lines were forming at area gas stations early Monday, too, but most stations said they didn’t anticipate shortages.

Ed Zucarro of Independent Oil — owner of five stations in Natchez and one in Fayette — said his company had a good supply and expected deliveries as usual today.

The story was different, though, at Go Mart on U.S. 61 South. Co-owner Ward Graning said his store ran out of diesel very early on and was on the last drops of regular grade gas by Monday afternoon. He was expecting a new shipment today.

Wroten and family took what they could, Monday, filling up on $240 worth of gas.

Local resident Shirley Berry had some preparing to do Monday as well, since a flood of New Orleans family members will fill her house this week.

A sign that reads “Out of Order” hangs on one of the pumps at the Go Mart gas station Monday evening.

Berry piled water, flashlights and candles in her shopping cart and said hurricanes Katrina and Gustav taught her she needs to be prepared, especially because she will have extra house guests for the next few days.

��We have about 15-20 people coming, and they will be spread out at different family members’ houses,” she said. “We all try to get together and make sure everyone has a place to stay.”

Other residents say they are not too worried about Isaac.

Natchez resident Christina Morris added a couple of cases of water and a flashlight to her regular grocery list for Walmart Monday.

“I really don’t think it’ll be bad like (Katrina) or Gustav,” she said. “At worst, we’ll be without lights for a couple of days,” she said.

Veronica Johnson said she was filling up her car before the lines at the pumps got too long. Johnson said she would pick up some water before heading home, but she said she was not too worried about Isaac causing extensive damage.

“It’s really in God’s hands now, but I don’t think it’s going to get too bad,” she said.

Walmart and Natchez Market were reporting an increase of business Monday but remained stocked with basic items like bread and water.

Natchez Markets Director of Operations Barry Loy said issues may occur Wednesday when supply trucks must come from Baton Rouge.