Tracking Sandy: Local teen takes cover in D.C. dorm - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tracking Sandy: Local teen takes cover in D.C. dorm

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Chattanoogans with loved ones in the Northeast are keeping a watchful eye Monday night on the affects of Sandy, as the storm moves inland.

One local family is using any means to stay connected with their son, who's hunkered down in his Washington D.C. dorm room, waiting for Sandy to pass.

The Varnell family huddles around the TV, with one person in mind. The sixth member of this family is caught in the middle of the hurricane dubbed "Frankenstorm."

"He's our oldest, and it's his first year away from school," Amanda Varnell says. "And of course, he's far away. It's been hard."

Jack Varnell is an 18-year-old freshman at American University, located in the northwest quadrant of D.C. and the path of the storm.

"It is pouring down rain, and the wind is blowing extremely hard where I am," Jack tells Channel 3 via Skype.

Jack is confined to his dorm, stocked ahead of time with water, food, and backup generators.

"We are supposed to stay in our dorms unless we get an emergency text, telling us to go to this one building on campus if we have to evacuate," Jack says.

Some mandatory evacuations were issued along the coast.

The storm caused massive flooding 300 miles northeast. Some residents boarded up their homes and left. Others chose to stick it out.

"Most people, it appears, have taken heed of the warnings and left the immediate D.C. side area, the immediate coastal area," says Beau Berman, a reporter in Connecticut. "However you will, we have seen people who are still staying there, which is obviously concerning for authorities."

"Most of the students here are from the Northeast, and are seeing their house and their cities destroyed," Jack says. "So, it's getting more somber throughout the day."

As Jack and his dorm mates brace for what Sandy has left, his parents keep watching,
hoping for the best.

"We are doing our best, just not to worry and know that whatever happens, happens," Amanda says.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m., Channel 3 received a text from Jack with an update.

His building has now lost power. Students were forced to evacuate for a fire alarm, but were allowed back in the building.

They are gathered on the top floor, where he says the ceiling is leaking.

No one is being allowed outside.

Channel 3 will continue to update you, as Jack is able to communicate with us.


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