Posted on October 21, 2013
A tradition of celebrating the end of the hurricane season in the U.S. Virgin Islands started even before there was a U.S.!
Back in 1726, when Denmark ruled the island of St. Thomas (now part of the U.S. Virgin Islands), a Christian pastor named Philip Dietrichs led a special church service to give thanks that his community had not been destroyed in a hurricane that year. The idea took hold and became a tradition that is kept even now, on all three islands.
A hurricane is a giant storm...
I bet you already know that hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are all the same thing: a large tropical storm. The word cyclone is perhaps most descriptive, because these tropical storms are rotating like a bicycle's wheel rotates...
And you probably also know that hurricanes/cyclones start over tropical oceans and often gain strength as they travel across the ocean, picking up more and more water from the evaporating sea, but lose strength when they hit land and can no longer grow.
You probably know that hurricanes are named men's and women's names arranged alphabetically (so that Hurricane Charlie, say, would be the next one after Hurricane Betty). Lists of names are arranged ahead of time and are used as necessary—but when any hurricane is memorably huge and destructive, such as Katrina or Sandy, that name is retired and a new K or S (or whatever) name is put in its place.
Hurricanes Hugo in 1989 and Marilyn in 1995 were direct hits on the U.S. Virgin Islands and caused severe damage. Of course, other storms have passed since then but have paled in comparison...
Learn more about hurricanes from this earlier post.
Learn more about the U.S. Virgin Islands.
|This map shows St. Croix, one of the three U.S. Virgin|
Islands. The other two, St. Thomas and St. John, are nearby.
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