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macon.com Midday Update: Gas shortage continues to plague metro Atlanta; today marks first day of fall; stocks fall as investors await bank bailout plan

Residents in the Atlanta are scrambling to find gas as supply problems left over from two recent hurricanes make it hard to fill up the tank.

Some stations were out of gas today, while others were down to a single pump or offering only one grade of gas.

State and industry officials say one factor causing the shortage is the interruption of the supply from the Gulf of Mexico, where refineries were hit hard by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Another factor is the required use of cleaner-burning fuel in Atlanta, which means fuel can’t be easily diverted from other areas that have sufficient supplies.

Industry officials say refineries are quickly restoring supply, but some station owners say they’ve been warned not to expect normal supplies for days.

Associated Press

Today marks first day of fall

Early morning temperatures across Georgia had a crisp autumn coolness to greet the new season.

Fall officially arrived at 11:44 a.m. today.

Temperatures were 55 degrees in Canton and Peachtree City, 63 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the upper 40s in the mountains of Blairsville.

Forecasters expect cool nights and warm days for the first week of the new season.

The National Weather Service says there will be mostly sunny skies in Atlanta through Thursday, with highs in the upper 70s to low 80s and lows in the mid to upper 50s.

Friday will be mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain.

The weekend forecast cals for mostly cloudy skies with a chance of showers.

Associated Press

Stocks fall as investors await bank bailout plan

Financial markets pulled back in uneasy trading today as investors awaited details of the government’s plan to buy $700 billion in banks’ mortgage debt. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than more than 200 points while the credit markets remained nervous, but not showing the signs of panic that Treasury trading saw last week.

Investors are relieved that federal authorities are taking action to relieve the nation’s banks of their toxic assets. But it is not sure yet how successful the plan will be in thawing credit markets, which many businesses depend on to fund day-to-day operations, and for propping up the still-weak housing market.

Bush administration officials and congressional leaders have been meeting on the rescue plan, the thrust of which congressional leaders have endorsed. Many market observers are hoping for details of the plan to emerge by midweek. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are scheduled to appear before Congress on Wednesday for a briefing on the economy.

‘‘For now I think the market is giving everyone the benefit of the doubt,’’ said Axel Merk, portfolio manager at Merk Funds. ‘‘This is not an ’all is clear’ signal that we have now.’’

Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

- A Macon City Council committee is expected to look at James Timley's request for the National Guard to come in and curb the recent violence in Macon. We'll let you know what happens.

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