Florida students grapple with storms

With another hurricane approaching Florida after Charley and Frances plowed through the state over the last two weeks, many Floridian students are keeping a nervous eye on their homes.

Hurricane Frances, which struck late Saturday night and continued to devastate Florida into Tuesday, has killed more than 14 people and has left more than six million people without power.?Many students from Florida said they were unable to communicate with their parents for nearly a day after the storm.

Junior Bradley Glanzrock said he couldn’t get in touch with his mother until Monday. However, he was able to communicate with his father the day after the storm.

“My mom and step-dad still have no power or phone, so I have to talk to them on their cell phone,” Glanzrock said.

Glanzrock lives in Hillsboro Beach, about 30 miles north of where Frances made landfall.

“I was a bit anxious, but I’ve been through so many it didn’t really worry me,” he said, adding that Frances seemed powerful even in comparison to Hurricane Andrew, which was recorded as the state’s most devastating storm in 1992.

Junior Dan Gendelman, who hails from Palm Beach, Fla., said he was able to rest soundly knowing that his parents had flown to New York to avoid the storm.

He said the damage was so bad in his hometown that “no one was let back on the island until Monday.”

For students that may have lost touch with their parents, the University was able to offer little help. GW officials said they focus primarily on making sure that parents know where their children are and not the other way around.

Rodney Johnson, director of parent services, said the University is prepared to get as much information to parents as possible. But when asked how GW helps students contact their parents in cases of emergency, Johnson said, “The thought is (that) parents are the ones who contact students.”

According to the University’s Office of Institutional Research, 323 students call Florida home; they comprise about 3.5 percent of the undergraduate population.

Hurricane Frances, which at some points churned as a category 4 storm off the Florida coast, is estimated to have cost about $2 billion worth of damage. Meteorologists are watching Hurricane Ivan, a category 4 storm that may hit the state early next week.

The GW Counseling Center said it was prepared to help students cope with the effects of the hurricanes. The center is located at 2033 K Street; students interested in making an appointment can call 994-5300.

Andrea Gaynor, a staff counselor, said that symptoms of emotional trauma from an event such as a hurricane may take a while to show up.

“If their family suffered damage, (the student) may not suffer immediately,” she said.

Gaynor added that suffering students can become identifiable because they “may not focus, they may have nightmares if they saw the damage, they may keep re-visualizing the situation.”

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