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Storm doesn’t dampen students’ weekend

Tish Griffin and her friends didn?t let Tropical Storm Gabrielle dampen their weekend. They ignored the rain and partied in Ybor City.

Griffin, who lived in Japan for nine years as a ?Navy brat,? braved typhoons of the Pacific and said she is used to tropical weather. But she said she wanted to experience a Florida tropical storm.

?I actually went out in it and got soaked,? Griffin said.

Gabrielle swept through Tampa on Friday leaving its mark on the USF?s Tampa campus in the form of broken, twisted branches that litter the sidewalks and toppled trees.

Crews repaired tattered USF banners along Fowler Avenue on Sunday. They also put back newspaper stands that could have been deadly in the company of high winds.

Topping 40 miles per hour, winds uprooted several trees ? a tall palm in front of Cooper Hall and a tree in the green area between the science buildings and fine arts.

Seeing Gabrielle?s path inch toward Tampa, university officials closed the campus Friday and Saturday.

SAFE Team, the nightly campus escort service, did not open Friday because of the weather.

?When there?s that much rain and lightning, we can?t have carts out.? said Alysia Meadows, SAFE Team dispatcher. ?If they can?t see out of the carts, it?s unsafe for the (riders).?

Other students were not as excited as Griffin to get wet and decided to stay indoors.

Freshman Lazshariah Forbes, who lives in the Magnolia complex, said she stayed in on Friday but went out on Saturday to buy groceries.

?It came so quick, I didn?t have time to prepare,? she said.

Frank Wang, a graduate student, was taking a break from a tennis match Sunday evening. He said the storm hindered his weekend tennis plans.

He also said the storm came too quickly, and he didn?t know about its landfall.

?My housemates didn?t know,? he said. ?If someone else didn?t tell me, I would not have known. I think the news really came too late.?

For some USF students though, the storm was not at the forefront of their thoughts.

Sandeep Iyer, a graduate student, said he watched the news coverage of the attack on America and didn?t hear much about then-approaching Gabrielle.

?We were glued to the television,? he said.

Contact Selina Roman