As Restonians waited for power to come back on and cleaned up storm debris Sunday morning, a group of Chinese business students looked for a place to buy a cell phone.
The men - Alex Hao, 24, Fergus Li, 19, James Yan, 20 and Jack Cao, 20 - hail from Chengdu and are headed to study this fall at Boston's Northeastern University. They stepped off a 13-hour plane ride from Bejing to Dulles International Airport Saturday night, scheduled to make a 9 p.m. connecting flight to Boston's Logan Airport.
With Hurricane Irene barrelling up the East Coast at that time, thousands of flights were cancelled, including theirs.
Instead, they got in a cab. The driver took them to the where they rode out the storm.
"United Airlines says they may not be able to get us to Boston until Sept. 1," said Hao.
The students - three of whom had never been to the United States before - liked what they saw in Reston, and were making plans to take the Metro to DC should they be stranded all day today.
"It's very clean," said Li.
They set off for in search of cell phones to run on an American network. And to call their host families in New England and check with United about when they might make that connecting flight.
The National Weather Service reported that winds of 55 mph - the highest ever - were recorded in Reston.
Still, the damage was pretty minimal, with no major injuries reported.
The sun broke through about 9 a.m., and residents and business owners began cleanup and the usual Sunday activities. Church services were on schedule, as was the 9 a.m. Vinyasa class at A jogger carefully passed by the men with chainsaws removing a tree from Soapstone Road.
On Sweet Bay, off of Soapstone, homeowners were picking up downed tree limbs as they waited for their power - out since 2 a.m. - to be restored. Traffic lights were dark in many locations, but with little traffic on Lawyers Road, motorists politely took turns.
Virginia Dominion Power reported that 96,670 Northern Virginia customers were without power as of 10:44 a.m. Sunday. The company says it should have its damage assessment completed by noon and has 5,000 crew members from North Carolina to Northern Virginia working to get power restored.
Back at the Town Center, employees swept sidewalks, children splashed in puddles and dog owners took their pets for a walk.
The forecast for the rest of the week: sunny and mid-80s. And free of hurricanes and earthquakes.