Archive for Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kansans keep close tabs on storm

August 30, 2005

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Timothy Ribelin, a Kansas University graduate student from Petal, Miss., tried several times Monday to contact his family at home while watching Hurricane Katrina on the  Internet. He finally connected with his family late Monday afternoon.

Timothy Ribelin, a Kansas University graduate student from Petal, Miss., tried several times Monday to contact his family at home while watching Hurricane Katrina on the Internet. He finally connected with his family late Monday afternoon.

A suspenseful wait for a phone connection Monday left Tim Ribelin worried about his family in Petal, Miss.

It wasn't until late afternoon that he learned his family was safe. But Hurricane Katrina had knocked down all the trees - including a big oak - in the family's yard.

"I feel helpless," said Ribelin, 23, a graduate research assistant in medicinal chemistry at Kansas University. "I'd like to be there. But they've shut down the airports and a lot of the roads are closed. I'll just sit tight in Kansas.

"Hearing from my family will have to be enough."

Ribelin watched television news Monday to learn how his home state was dealing with the rage of Hurricane Katrina. Then he finally spoke with his family.

It could have been worse, Ribelin said, though he couldn't remember a more ferocious hurricane.

"With Hurricane Mitch in 1998, we just started getting big gusts of wind, and eventually school was shut down," Ribelin said. "Then, we went without power for about a week. But it wasn't as bad there as it is now."

Kansas utility companies sent crews south to assist with returning power and other utilities to communities hit by the hurricane.

On Monday morning, Westar sent seven four-man crews from several Kansas towns to Baton Rouge, La., company spokeswoman Karla Olsen said.

Companies that contract with Westar and Aquila also sent crews to help. The Pennsylvania-based Asplundh Tree Expert Co. sent 40 crews to remove tree branches from power lines. PAR Electric, which is based in Kansas City, Mo., currently has 280 employees working for various energy companies in Florida and Mississippi.

"Probably about 50 of the men that we sent are from Kansas," said Tim Warlen, regional vice president of the Midwest for PAR.

He said crews were pulled off of assignments with Westar and Aquila to help repair the damage done by Hurricane Katrina.

By the numbers

145: Top wind speed as Katrina hit Gulf Coast

55: Deaths reported Monday, 50 of which occurred in one Mississippi county

11: Deaths reported last week after Katrina hit Florida

1 million +: People who have lost power because of Katrina

2: Months before all electricity expected to be restored

20: Estimated number of buildings that collapsed in New Orleans

22: Highest recorded storm surge, in feet, measured in Mississippi

9,000: Number of people who took refuge in the Superdome in New Orleans. Power failed, and three hours later the wind tore away metal and left two holes in the roof.

843-3550: The phone number of the Douglas County Chapter of the American Red Cross, which will take relief donations by credit card. Donations may also be made online at www.redcross.org

J-W wire services contributed to this report.

Comments

dex 9 years, 10 months ago

KANSAS NEWSPAPER REPORTS ON PEOPLE KEEPING CLOSE TABS ON NEWS OF THE STORM

Film at 11.

GreenEyedBlues 9 years, 10 months ago

Good call, Dex. I know this is a tremendous natural catastrophe but I can't help but wonder why they took a picture of a smiling guy on the phone trying to reach his missing family.

trueninetiesgirl 9 years, 10 months ago

does any one know anything about the town of amacola louisana???? i am trying to find my neice.

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