Foggy Bottom emerged relatively unscathed from a storm that left thousands without power as it tore through the East Coast Thursday night, giving students an opportunity to enjoy a four-day weekend.
During the days off music blasted from rooms in Thurston Hall and other residence halls while students scoured the floors, still in their pajamas at 6 p.m. Residents watched movies, ordered takeout, did their laundry and caught up on sleep as the hurricane wreaked havoc throughout the District.
“There is a God and her name is Isabel,” said sophomore Julia Hutchinson Thursday night. “As long as the cable stays on, we’ll be set.”
On-campus venues such as the Hippodrome and J Street were relatively quiet throughout the day on Thursday, but residence halls were packed with students ready for a few days of relaxation.
“If it wasn’t for the hurricane I would have had to spend my day working on a project for my philosophy class, but instead we baked brownies and double-layer chocolate fudge cake,” freshman Jarrad Rosen said.
Several students threw “hurricane parties” and danced in the rain, which came down in sheets Thursday night. 4-RIDE vans were still operating.
Sophomores Deena Asaadi, Lindsay Mcneil and Lindsey Rosenzweig said they had a “hurricane slumber party” Wednesday night with their friends.
“We’re wearing our bathing suits,” Rosenzweig said. “When it starts to rain really hard, we’re going to go out and dance in the rain.”
Thurston Hall Community Facilitators held a “hurricane party” on the first floor Thursday night.
“We tried to deter students from turning to drinking in a proactive way by throwing a ‘hurricane party,'” said Thurston CF Tishelle Blaize. “There was pizza, buffalo wings and ‘mocktails’ served in an attempt to keep residents occupied.”
While some students attended parties, others worried about their loved ones down south and took precautions to stay safe.
Freshman Sarah Cook of Raleigh, N.C., said she took Isabel seriously and stocked up on food, flashlights and a radio. She said some of her friends in North Carolina filled their bathtubs with water to guard against water main breaks.
“My initial sense of panic came from watching FOX News,” Cook said. “I saw my beach condominium complex on TV with one of the on-scene reporters standing in front of it. I was extremely worried for my friends and family back home.”
West End CF Adam Gutbezahl said residents took “the approach that it is better to be safe than sorry.”
“(They’re) stocking up at Provisions and Safeway, playing video games and watching movies. Tower Records and Blockbuster are going to make a killing this weekend,” he said.
Although D.C. declared a state of emergency prior to the storm, some students decided to brave Isabel, only to discover that Washington becomes a ghost town in inclement weather.
“It was raining pretty hard and it was really windy,” freshman Jimmy Silk said. “There was hardly anyone out on the streets, but we did see two trees that had fallen down.”
On CNN’s “Crossfire” Thursday afternoon, which aired at its regular 4:30 p.m. time, hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson mocked the city’s preparations for the hurricane and the empty Foggy Bottom streets.
“So, today, here in Washington, we’re not Democrats or Republicans. We’re wet. We’re windblown. Most of all, we’re worried, because, you see, here in Washington, we are weather wimps,” Begala told the crowd. “Washington has come to a standstill over a few drops of rain. That’s usually what happens when the snow hits. But where’s the storm?”
Despite being “weather wimps,” GW students flocked to the “Crossfire” set. The seats were filled, forcing some students to stand in the back of the auditorium.
By Friday morning the storm had subsided and the sun was shining, but GW students were still off from classes and determined to take advantage of the day.
“We could have gone to school today,” freshman Lydia Terrill said. “I’m glad we didn’t have classes, though, because I got to catch up on some sleep.”
Though D.C. has been declared a federal disaster area along with Maryland and Virginia, the little damage in Foggy Bottom had several students saying they were disappointed by the hype surrounding Isabel.
“Overall, the hurricane was a total disappointment. They had us expecting this massive storm, but it was just a little wind and rain,” sophomore Katerina Athanassiadou said. “Not that I wanted destruction of property, but they made it seem like it was going to be so much bigger.”
–Brandon Butler, Garni Gharekhanian Christopher Kline and Hope Needles contributed to this report.