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 Hurricanes in the Virgin Islan...
 Suggested activities

Title: Hurricanes and Holidays: Supplication Day; Local Thanksgiving
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300718/00001
 Material Information
Title: Hurricanes and Holidays: Supplication Day; Local Thanksgiving
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: University of the Virgin Islands
Publisher: University of the Virgin Islands
Place of Publication: Virgin Islands
Publication Date: 2002
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Bibliographic ID: CA01300718
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Hurricanes in the Virgin Islands
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        Page 3
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        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
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        Page 21
        Page 22
    Suggested activities
        Page 23
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        Page 25
Full Text

HO AY Supplication Day Juy 25
HOLIDAYS" Loail Thanksgiving- Oct. 25

A f,"i' ,I fl-t q ,i w C

The ESEA Title III staff takes this opportunity to

present you with materials on two local holidays that

have been observed since early Danish times. These holi-

days are inextricably involved with the hurricane, and

since we have not suffered a hurricane's attack for sev-

ral years, it is perhaps time that we review the signifi-

cance of these two days.

Supplication Day is that day we humbly beg to be

spared the horrors of a hurricane during the season that

follows. Local Thanksgiv.ng Day is the time for giving

thanks that we have been spared, and it marks the end of

the season.

For often prideful man that is capable of orbiting

satellites around the Earth and the Moon, the realization

that a single hurricane releases the energy of several

million Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombs should be a humbling one.

The Virgin Islands two hurricane "holidays" hopefully re-

veal our continuing recognition of man's frailness before

the awesome forces of nature.

The materials included in this publication only begin

to scratch the surface. We hope that they will give you

some fresh ideas and stimulate you to investigate further.

To this end you will find a list of suggested act.iites,

sources of information and materials, and a brief bibliogra-

phy included.


The hurricane is one of the calamities that strike deep
terror into the people of the Virgin Islands, as well as the
rest of the West Indies, because they have been visited by
extremely devastating ones.

In order to afford some idea of these severe hurricanes,
we are including firsthand' accounts of some of them.
On August 31, 1772, St. Croix was struck by a hurricane
which was described in the local newspaper as the "most dreadful
hurricane known in the memory of man". This catastrophe was
described in a letter written by Alexander Hamilton to his father.
The letter reads as follows:

Honored Sir. I take up my pen just to give you
an imperfect account of the most dreadful hurri-
cane that memory or any records whatever can trace,
which happened here in the 31st ultimo at night.

It began about dusk, at North, and raged very
violently till ten o'clock. Then ensued a sudden
and unexpected interval, which lasted about an hour.
Meanwhile, the wind was shifting around to the South
West point, from whence it returned with doubled
fury and continued so til near three o'clock in the
morning. Good God! what horror and destruction-
it's impossible for me to describe or you to form
any idea of it. It seemed as if a total dissolution
of nature was taking place. The roaring of the sea
and wind-fiery meteors flying about in the air -
the prodigious glare of almost perpetual lightning
crash of the falling houses and the earpiercing
shrieks of the distressed, were sufficient to strike
astonishment into Angels.

A great part of the buildings throughout the
Island are leveled to the ground almost all the
rest was very shattered several persons killed
and numbers utterly ruined whole families run-
ning about the streets unknowing where to find a
place of shelter the sick exposed to the keen-
ness of water and air without a bed to lie upon
or a dry covering to their bodies our harbour
is entirely bare. In a word, misery in all its most
hideous shapes spread over the whole face of the
country a strong smell of gunpowder added some-
what to the terrors of the *' and it was observed
that the rain was surprisingAy salt. Indeed, the water
is so brackish and full of sulphur that there is hardly
any drinking it.

*Lewisohn, Florence. Divers information on the
Romantic History of St. Croix. St. Croix Landmarks
Society Inc., 1964, p. 47.

My reflections and feelings on this frightful
and melancholy occasion are set forth in following

Where now OH! Vile worm, is all thy boasted
fortitude and sufficiency? why dost thou tremble
and stand aghast? how humble how helpless how
contemptible you now appear. And for why? the jar-
ring of the elements the discord of clouds? Oh,
impotent presumptuous fool! how darest thou offend
that omnipotence, whose nod alone were sufficient to
quell the destruction that hovers over thee, or crush
thee into atoms? See thy wretched helpless state and
learn to know thyself . .

Hark! ruin and confusion on every side.
- 'Tis thy turn next: but one short moment even
now Oh Lord help Jesus be merciful!

Thus did I reflect, and thus at every gust of
wind did I conclude. till it pleased the Almighty
to allay it.

I am afraid, sir, you will think this description
more the effort of imagination than a true picture of
realities. But I can affirm with the greatest truth,
that there is not a single circumstance touched upon
which I have not absolutely been an eyewitness to.

There was another dreadful hurricane and fire on August 2,
1837 which caused considerable loss from the destruction of
houses, ships, and other casualties. The most distressing part
of the whole was the loss of life not only in town but in the
harbour. To that effect the Government House made the following


When on the 2nd instant this Colony was ravaged by an awful

Hurricane and Earthquake, Lightning and Conflagration augmented

its terrible effects, it was a great consolation ti find that no

kind of disorder was committed, and that all did thair best to put

a stop to the Fire: I beg that every one in particular who in

the time of danger exerted himself will accept of many warmest


Inhabitants of St. Thomas: To you distress needs no inter-

preter. Let us hand in hand alleviate the general calamity. I

need not warn against profiting by the misfortune of others- no

one will by raising the prices of necessities and shelter stamp

himself with public contempt.

As soon as the severest distress is relieved, we will

assemble in the House of the Lord, and on this mournful occasion

join in Prayers to the Almighty.

Government House, St. Thomas, the 5th August 1837.

Hurricane 1867

In october 29, 1867, one of the most-terrifying
hurricanes passed over the Virgin Islands and Puerto
Rico. According to an article published in the
St. Thomae Tidende for November 13, 1867, it was a
storm which if not in magnitude, certainly in destruc-
tiveness, was declared to surpass any hitherto known.
It was considered stronger or more severe than any
other that has ever been previously felt in these is-

On St. Thomas the barometer fell as low as 27.95
inches just prior to the calm(eye) which occurred
shortly after noon. More than 600 persons were drowned
on this island and many more were killed on short by
falling houses. In Puerto Rico this storm was known
as "San Narciso", named after the calendar saint on
whose day it occurred.

Below is a picture of the harbor of St. Thomas
during this hurricane.

The hurricane of 1916, just before the United States took posses-
sion of the islands was, perhaps, one of the worst ever experienced
in the islands. Great damage was done in St. Thomas and St. Croix
though St. Thomas suffered very much more.

In Zabriskie's (The Virgin Islands of the United States of A merioa)
there is an account of the hurricane describing this catastrophe in the
three islands. It reads as follows:

Hurricane of October 9-0O,9ZB6-Most destructive since fearful catas-
trophe of Z876-Estimated damages amounted to nearly S2,000,000-
St. Thomas suffered most-Few fatalities, but many injured -
Major part of population sustained serious losses Wind veloci-
ty approximated 140 miles per hour-Official barometrical readingE
Harrowing details as minutely depicted in local newspapers.

On the evening of Monday, October 9, 1916, the islands of St. Thomas,
St. Croix, and St. John were visited by one of the fiercest and most de-
structive hurricanes that had been witnessed in that section since the
memorable one of 1867. The first estimated damage to property was placed
at about two million dollars but this figure was pared down considerably
after a more careful survey of the situation had been taken. St. Thomas
probably suffered greater injury than her two sister islands, owing prin-
cipally to her costly harbour works. The fatalities in the three places
were comparatively few, there being but four deaths, from drowning, re-
ported in St. Thomas and five deaths, due to injuries from falling walls
or trees, recorded, respectively, in St. Croix and St. John. Many more,
however, were wounded, and most all of the inhabitants suffered seriously
as a result of the havoc that was wrought.

There was but little warning of the approaching catastrophe, although
the morning of the ninth opened with a drizzling, disagreeable rain, with
slight winds that rose and fell throughout the day. The usual hurricane
signal was sounded at about two o'clock in the afternoon, but almost be-
3fre the storm shutters could be adjusted the precursor of the gale ap-
peared in the form of heavy gusts of wind and vertiable downpours of rain,
the force of wind increasing in intensity until it attained a velocity
reckoned at approximately 125 to 140 miles per hour. The severity of the
storm may be estimated by the extremely low barometer, the readings of
which, as given to the Washington Weather Bureau, were as follows

9th Oct. 7:30 A.M. 29.724
1:00 P.M. 29.665
2:15 " 29.576
3:00 " 29.549
5:00 " 29.439
6:00 29,
7:00 28.263
9:00 " 28.264
midnight 29.261
10th Oct. 6:00 A.M. 29.637
8:00 " 29.700

A general consideration of the 1916 hurricane seems inadequate to
fully portray to those who have never passed through such a calamity and
real significance of the disaster. Therefore in order to more fully re-
produce the sentiments of the sufferers regarding their unfortunate ex-
perience, there are quoted below extracts on the subject from the leading
local newspapers which appeared during the days immideately following.

From the October 11 issue of Lightbourn's Mail Notes, St. Thomas:

Devastation! Devastation: That's what meets the eye right and left,
in front of us, all about us. Yesterday this island was visited by one of
the most violent and destructive hurricanes perhaps in its history. It
came rather unexpectedly, as we had been visited by southerly wind up to
early yesterday morning, and it was near noon before it took a northerly
bend, and even then there were few or no signs of a coming storm. At
about 12:30 Commodore Konow on H.M.S. Valkyrien, at sea, on his way to
St. Croix, observed signs of danger and returned to port giving his ob-
servations. In the meantime the barometer began to fall rapidly and the
alarm guns were fired shortly before 2 o'clock. This was the signal for
most of us to prepare, and those who accepted the warning did so none too
soon, for sleuth-like the monster gathered its strength for the spring and
soon we werc in the furious grasp of a cyclone the like of which the
island has neeer felt before. The great storm of 1867 was not its equal,
neither that of 1876, although in the first named there was greater damage
in the harbour owing to the number of ships present and in the latter a
greater loss of life. Fortunately, on shore, we have to report no loss of
lifer only a few wounded which are being treated at the hospital.

The first part of the cyclone was fiercest from about 6 to 7:55 when
the storm centre was experienced, and this lasted until 9:40, an unusually
long period. It is thought that the wind's force between 7 and 8 o'clock
was considerably over one hundred miles an hour in some of those furious
gusts which not only shook the stoutest building to its foundations but
seemed to shake the very foundations of the island.

At 9:40 the storm returned in all its fury from the southeast, bend-
ing, breaking, smashing in its track; much that escaped in its first
furious onslaught gave way in the second, as one could hear how things
were being demolished. The only consolation we had was to know that each
blast would be weaker and weaker, as we saw the barometer rapidly rise
from its lowest recorded point, 28.10.

The entire island has suffered; some localities more than others
perhaps. In the town we can hardly select a spot that has suffered more
than another, although appearance would seem to point to the Savanne and
Frenchman's Hill, in the latter place damage being done to a number of
large dwellings almost to the point of demolition.

In the harbour everything that floated, save the distress vessel
Blandford, has been moved from its moorings. The German steamers
Wasgenwald and Calabria are ashore; the Danish barkentine Thor a wreck
on the lower point; the Miholt sunk; the dock dragged a little from its
moorings but is quite safe; and the schooner Irma II, sloops Spider and
La GraOia, and other small craft sunk or beached. The huge dredge
St. Hilda has been driven alongside the King's Warf, where she now remains.

H. M. S. VaZkyrien did splendid service with her searchlight all
last night. A boat's crew this morning took off the survivors of the
Danish barkentine Thor; others from that ship were rescued during the

We hope to be able to give more of a detailed statement of the
damage done to property tomorrow.

We understand that Captain Maynard of the sloop Pate, last seen on
board the Irma II, is missing. The Captain was well known here as a
frequent trader.

James Abbot, an old man, passenger from Tortola on the sloop Spider,
tells us that he managed to save himself when that sloop capsized during
the beginning of the hurricane by clinging to her stern and then striking
out for the La Gracia, aboard of which he was pulled by one Wheatley.
Two men, Frazer and Bruly, of the Spider, are supposed to be lost.

Mr. W. C. Creque, also of the Spider, was picked up about 4 o'clock
this morning and conveyed to hospital by Gendarmes.

The scene along the road to the west is one of devastation. So many
houses are down that it is not easy to calculate the number that are flat.
The largest trees have been uprooted and broken, and the passage along
the road is as difficult as through barbed wire entanglements. The church
and parsonage at Nisky are not very much damaged, but stable and outhouses
are gone, the beautiful trees about the place have been broken or over-
thrown. A number of people were housed in the parsonage during the night,
and many had narrow escapes from injury or death. There is much need for
help in clothing, food, and shelter.

The mother of Hiss Tilly Davies lost her house on "Bunker's Hill"
last night and suffered injuries which compelled her to go to the hospital.
As we go to press we learn that the body of Bruly has just been washed
ashore in the upper bay. It was clad only in a pair of drawers and the
face badly bruised.

From the October llth issue of the West End News, Frederiksted,
St. Croix:


Monday afternoon and night the 9th and Tuesday morning the 10th
October, 1916, will long be remembered by the people who at that time
lived in Santa Cn-- The gale, which came half-way unexpected on us,
not having receivcci any information about its route or about what time
it might be expected here, was announced about 2 o'clock by the firing
of the customary two times two guns as warning for an approaching hurri-
cane and hurricane flags hoisted on the fort flagstaff. The inhabitants
of the town feverishly barred up and soon after the forerunner, the gale
arrived-rather heavy squalls of rain and strong winds, and soon the gale

raged in its full force. The barometers in the town are reported to
have been very low, lower than any time before, and even lower than
registered in the last gale which raged Santa Cruz in 1899. Accompanied
by torrential rains the storm continued till about 5 o'clock when the
lull came. People crept out of their houses and cautiously walked
around looking for relatives or friends or proclaiming their whole partial
losses. From a house near the hospital in Strand Street several small
children and old folks were removed during the rain to the hospital.
When the lull came most, or at least a good many, people believed that all
danger was over and opened up their houses, but before 6 o'clock they had
to retreat and bar up quickly again. Soon the gale raged with even
greater force from the west (the sea), contrary to the first part of the
gale which was blowing from the east. The sea which had been rising since
the day before, Sunday, now put on a most boisterous face and dashed
forcibly against the rocks, making its way across the streets, reaching
the houses on the eastern side of Strand Street. Even in some of the
upstairs residences in the same street the salt water was discovered.
But the most pitiable and largest damage done to any individual, so far
as we have heard, was the total destruction of Mr. R. E. Higgins' Hard-
ware and Wholesale Provision Store in Strand Street, No. 5-it was
levelled, simply-bricks, rafts and beams, provisions and nails, water
and paper, all in a pellmell condition.

Besides Mr. Higgins' store, the gallery of Mr. Merwin's store, the
roof of the gallery outside Ramsay's Cafe, the Club, the Post Office, and
not least the Doctor's residence have suffered great damage.

Almost the entire roof of the Doctor's house is blown off, part of
it being hurled down in the yard, where it destroyed the stable and a
couple of rooms.

Ninety per cent, we believe of all the fences in the town are down,
and most of the trees too. In the market place, the streets, the grave-
yards, in yards, along the beach, in fact all over, the eye sees nothing
else but uprooted or broken trees; the park is a "saga blot," nearly all
the fine, high mahogany trees in front of the fort are uprooted, pieces
of boards, sheets of galvanized iron, and telegraph wires are everywhere
the spectacle. There is scarcely a house that has not suffered, if not
otherwise, then by the water, which has spoiled much wall paper, furniture,
clothes, etc. The strength of the gale can be judged when it is known
that "Mountain's" barometer registered as low as 27.80.

Today the town stinks of the brine sent in from the sea, and at times
you fancy you smell fire. That must be from the debris and the water.
North of the town there is a mighty sea or rather dirty pool of water, and
the "Panbush" quarter is in a most pitiable condition, this being a part
of the town that always floods every time a heavy rain falls.

It has been reported to us that even under these trying and serious
conditions, some people cannot remember the Seventh Commandment.
Galvanized iron, boards, and the like disappear like nothing.

The Hospital: Part of the operating room's roof was blown off,
and so was also the western topmost gallery (Sister Julia's Gallery);
part of the roof of "long-cot," the women's ward; the kitchen and the
fan-mill are entirely down, although it was reported that the stove
from the kitchen was used to cook on yesterday. Some of the patients
have left the hospital for want of accommodation, they say, but they
will be received again as soon as the Hospital Commission had taken a
full view of the situation.

The galleries on the eastern and the western sides of the Fort
are blown down or away.

Castleburgh manager house is partly ruined and some of the labourers'
homes damaged. The horse and mule stables are also blown down.

Through someone's carlessness, or perhaps thoughtlessness.
a lamp kindled a fire in Bethlehem village with the result that
some forty-four to forty-eight rooms burned down.
Annaly schoolhouse was blown about one hundred yards away
and put down in a valley ;
At Diamond, part of the works and chimney was blown down.

The manager's and Mr. Du Bois' houses at Lower Love are
partly damaged, and part of the village is destroyed.

At Annaly, on Captain Blackwood's estate, only four houses
are left of a village of about twenty-three to twenty-five houses.

At Spring Garden the top of the storeroom fell in and the
roof and parlour have been blown down.
At estate La Reine, the residence of old Mrs. Fleming, the
roof and side of the dining-room have gone, while the roof of the
bedroom and of the manager's house have completely gone.

All tea roads are of course blocked for traffic of car and
phaeton, by the fallen trees, and telephone posts and wires, which
system we understand is totally deranged and will take months to
bring to order.

From the October 12th issue of Lightbourn's Mail Notes,
St. Thomas:


CRUZ BAY-Police Assistant house gallery destroyed; some other
little damages. Not much to other houses.

KC. BAY (Abraham Smith's place)--Every house level to the
ground except one room. All cocoanut trees destroyed.

DENIS BAY (Lindqvist's place)-Gallery gone, and some other
parts damaged. The village houses all destroyed. The entire
banana field, lime trees, cocoanut trees, and bay leaf destroyed.

AMERICA FILL (Plantation Coy)-Dwelling house much damaged,
also Bay Rum Factory, etc. Lime cultivation seriously damaged.

MI LAND-No damage.
MANHOE BAY-Marsh's house destroyed.

ANNABERG--Francis' Castle Building, just built, much damaged.

"ARY'S POINT (Stakemann's property)--Labourer's village
destroyed, also cocoanut grove.

PARCEL ANNABERG (owned by squatters)--Houses damaged.

LEINSTER PAY-The private boarding house of irs. Clen, owned
by Lawyer Jorgensen, entirely destroyed.

HERMITAGE (Lockhart's)--Some damage to buildings, etc.

EAST END-Many small properties suffered very much damage.
Some persons crushed to death in their houses.

PALESTINA-Nearly all the houses destroyed. Many homeless.

CORAL BAY, FMMAUS-Moravian Church and Mission house and
outer buildings all gone. Parson Rev. Penn had to take refuge at
Carolina, Mr. E.W. Marsh's estate. Not much damage to Carolina.
Other parts of Coral Bay very much damaged. Many homeless.

SOUTH SIDE-Many places much damaged and poor people ,uuch
in need.

iOLLENDAHL--Scarcely a house not seriously damaged.

CESSMAN HILL--Scarcely a house not ruined. Many homeless
and nothing to eat.
These are among the worse; still there are other parts that
we have not been able to get news from.
The Moravian Minister Revd. Penn lost everything, especially
his valuable books.
The inhibitants are in a deplorable condition.
Of all the beautiful palms there are scarcely a dozen trees
left in the while Island. The beautiful cocoanut grove of Estate
Trunk Bay is entirely destroyed.

From the October 14th issue of the St. Thomas Tidende, St. Thomas:


In our account wednesday of the great hurricane of Monday
night we tried to depict at some length the aspect of the town
as it appeared after the terrific ordeal through which it passed
during those fc .-al hours. The account was somewhat extensive
and descriptive enough as we thought, but the more we see of the
widespread havoc and the general wreckage, and the more heard,
the more we find that our sketch, full as it seemed, was lacking.
There are certain experiences which cannot be related effectively,
certain scenes which cannot be fully delineated, they must be felt
and seen to be understood. Such is the hurricane and its calamitio"-

We said in our sketch that the better way to convey an idea
of the general damage and loss would be rather, for the hundreds
of houses within the town limits, to name those which have not
been damaged; if this were done it would be seen how few houses
have escaped. Any attempt to name or specify losses would unavoid-
ably be very incomplete.

The fall of the coal cranes affords the best idea of the force
of wind. The huge machines were made to withstand a wind velocity
of one hundred miles an hour, but their collapse during the second
part of the storm proves the speed of the wind to have been greater.
The F:.rim- reports it at between one hundred thirty'.and one hundred
forty miles an hour. The way in which the strong iron members have
bent is surprising.


We are glad to learn that, Government having represented to
the Ministry of Finances that assistance from the State Treasury
towards relieving the distress caused by +he hurricane would be
necessary, the Ministry has cabled Government that means would be
forthcoming for the said purpose. Government has under consider-
ation the appointing of a committee with Judge Wellejus as chair-
man to investigate matters and to make proposals to Government for
assistance outside of such as is already under the care of the
Poor Commission.

It will be comforting to the numerous suffers by the hurricane
to learn the foregoing so they will know that help is coming- from

Also from America relief may be expected, appeal for aid
having been cabled. It has been suggested that arrangements be
made here for procuring by cable food and building materials to
get which a group of merchants may see after.

The aid now has to include St. Jan, which has also been swept
by the storm. Some hurried notes sent us from there give a partial
but awful sketch of conditions, while an eyewitness who experienced
the hurricane there gives a deplorable account of its ravages. The
state of things is appalling, he says, no homes, no food, no fruit
trees, no provision grounds left, almost everything flat, boats,
fishpots, all gone. Desolation reigns. From St. Croix likewise
come harrowing tales of distress, so that each of the group has
shared the common affliction.

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rI Ilt~ Oa which made s persons believe i -
ttItB BU W tm ws ovr, u.ntilt tred evfr Hurricane
Vrieied odoblisheddailyhatStholia withtL rater farce from the west, but in
irgnbt l .b hen s' the hurricnd thcre was nothing of th. Sweeps Frederiksted
PABbtiTlrhg sbil on. kind s it raged continuisly for hours.
ASBtL. i.SMITH, Manrager which willlon be remembered by the Predr,,..i.d... .er.'rc "bit y
BOre d s d r a I. M a te r O c ta. n e h o f S t 'p ,h e d ehar i ta .d.. h aseE r e ly. D b y
Vo,AJa, /'( he Unted Set... Iadr, A I dama e or destroyed that they were 9- to 0 notr. One isee botha, out
AesoJGa.MrekJ. Z879. complled to abandon them and eek destroyed bo.us Toe street. a- cl,uke
--- heltesr with relatives or friends. The ed with deori. E'clere light. and to-
WrDi5r DAT, lrmTEMsE 19, 1S98. Government Ofices and other public phoae pots bare oeon thrown dow.trees
i --- -- buildings were thrown open to eopleUproo rd,. the bi. ,harf. iitlgr.. and
Virginia Lost. who sou ht shelter In these place le -, s ... .. .y
rg rst oor of the Lutheran parsonage also t'n. as rbenr at li- dmr ,.f 1.s rvo
table fdro the ovro olhe people ere L rs may reaic several nundre j ildu
A asble fronw the Governor of St. be to ibr me hee ..^doieT.*. sit asKed ...u
to Gee from their homesduriugthe storm d dllar
Martins says- "*Virginia" parted Theloal chapter of the American Red While the diamne to property has
chains in Statia and went adrift. Cross has rendered valuable astistance; leen great. is oi .et oow 0 tha many
Crew, aiesniger, and mail ved Bi giving out food to the very poor and live hbave bOe lost. Mrs. Jiosepb in Duo
tatia a-d S ,badly damaged, d" deerrving ones who re i a depiorble n the moil br of Mrsa Eugrs Bo er-
Sttil and Bab badly dingad, 00 condition. left so on account of the rav- Iu,. was drowned in Coauorda itutter
deaths. ages of the hurricane. Many people have | mtfy. a e wasoB her warto own
The Virlinia wa- a weekly visit sferedcoaiderably and some peronsas, re aC b ahl Ole to ould
have expressed that they are in no p ast thso.. who net
or to St. Thoume and we are glad titon d have no hope at rebrliding their the br mbge. Pole Bu, er to.L who wnas
i tin and have no hope of rebuilding thudr a. h may to, ten hass.. to her
to know that her popular skipper, oes uane ha is p gi.ven-ad suf- rcmcu, but was unable loeae her. .ee
Captain Mardenborugh and crew ficient help. There were times we ae more ao.t. l this .i Soeuler columo
bhasv hten aved. told, when hurriceses occurred it rich Ii is sid that tibu Iale wia more des-
hd. Bave,,. times when the islands were flourish. trucive than teaI of 189. and by far the
Ed. Bulletin. ing, but the same cannot be said now. wurst it the hbl ory of thbe ald. While
hence the difference. toe speed of be 9 gae wasl far reader.
H hurricane of 1928. The Wharf is in ild tate, some drats.iay e .. bors,,e dise ::;ih
the hneihen are broken up. a I.- ... tied mu longer.
On ute night ofselptember I and the rubbish from the eas is thrown up on As a were t- people. expected tha
morning of the tbh thi island was*isit land, caused as some people believe ith lsurrncle would bave beeu so esevre
ed by one of the most violent and de. from a tidal wave. as it is reported FPr the the past years warnings ere
strctive hurricaese since bthe morable that earthquake shocks were felt dlr-. easout, and tl b frast urriuene talr hole
eMe of ai6. Sone of the older people ig the cyclone. Communication was ed. but on those occatoino the woid was
asem to think that it surpassed the h- interrupted, telegraph, telephone and sd a.d the island weae p.ired. tn Wed
ricaesof 3867. 819g and t9g6. In the electric wires were on the groun.l. burt e.vi.y afternDooU tter tie first hurr. iau
afternoon of the rath, the sual hurrl. repairs are being made. The radio poles 'faL id beed baed, nmao. pe p1e tno..
cae signflagwahoisted at the Port are lso down. temporary repairs were ed lriard to the same .xperiar.. O; ut
and in the evening the finng of the hut- effected. el.del. ihnat trouble was i r. Ti ll
ricae gone was the signal for ou tpe. The Police were ordered out and ir. i pont loading sugar nllrj
pare, thaitthe Msorm wa approaching went around warning the iuhabitanlt. ceate work .sd pit to sea wit1 somi 40
At about .3 the force of the wind be- that the storm was approaching, and ,..ien roml thi p.rt on board itiowj, the
gantonior Use, and between the hours they must prepare These Officers of iugar. Tas molrnig s relurnud ulut
of lanoa t o'clock everybody was fully the peace were also prepared to give was unSale Sl land the meu, anu bad to
awarethat ie dreaded West Indian hur any assistance needed during the storni puS t serai na They were ia.led at
ricans was pon us. The storm raged as they were on duty while the hurri- Chr- LtssaieJ She lba been baJ.v bat
for hour, with an intensity which ray cane was raging -some work indeed for ".rd he wine south toeso I p. i
bebeetter jndged by the low haromtero these brave mn. The wndt wh ssartel to ra. from
which fell to a8 go in Christisnsted. and Tie hbrriane wa acoTlinanieit by W.alneoda ,O nl dud not become forIous
such lower itu Prderiksted as reported heavy rains, which 'onttinued iti tO un,Il Tsirstlay rornuKg when iS did ilo
Ai far as we have heen able together, up when the cyclone had passed The yreate.t da.ag ,i. Tler is hard,. a house
a the present. the entire island has auf. streets are broken up from the power- i. town that teIs not fl.l the heva Iland
ered. in some places more than others, ful rush of water from the hills, and lo the wri. or drenched b tShe sJokig
About 5 o'clock am on the 13 when traffic is stopped in pant of Prince's bthower webtc re.l all day yesterday.
-verybody thought that a lull would street until repairs are made Sowme peo Maiy peopl' declared tbire w s ai b.ll
me,.the storm was fierceet at that time. ple who have not lost their houses oterm. ad several a*ovks of carthquate
ad continued far into the day, tearing got their furniture and other belong- i"e eIa ...several da. r.ec
dl s thing every thing in its path. oigs damaged by the ratn which fell ,i hed ils ol thede servura o d rl h to.
lme of the buildings that escaped its in torrents, as some of tie best houses pi rl.t pritpstles tad govern mient 1 uid
ury in the early hours of the emoirnug in town were reported leaking through m lt. and such istals would onoere nore
ve away between the houo of 6 to to1the driving force of the wind with the some at that, for everyrhere one lurns
'clock hi the day In the harbour ve.- rain, and some of the houses the gal- i i a leplitston of gallaoided tseetsa itre
els have been sk or blown in shallow i vanized roofing is entirely ol l from rloot. sides uf house and uiolrins
rate. The schooner Viilant is rht The more we see and hear of the t~ow aw 4va In Fres Gut a. o.thur
p nader the Fort battery and further wreckage in town and country the pLrl" of to.' ro d, of omars i e l ben
p the schooner Retolution is sank .only more e are tempted to write, but will hryn. hoi se ro and, die .their. ul
part of her maas is visible, other small conclude our report for today on tlis Plaidn we.re so badl damlagte they
*r vesels are alo under water. disastrous hurricane of 1918. had Iotb ablildo.,e] Plsber Sir.eel i
Pouring the hurricane of 1916 there ---T. CROIX A t1. i np.issanle BO rebrcies bcaui e a roe of
lalilU at about 5 o'clock the after. Monday, bept. 1;7, T9g. rooms belonlfing to 34rs. Thomas .rve

wbeh Will be done lor the tiland by the
Red Cros. MIsl Camerau, she local ri Mr. Beooerson leti Concordla for town
be presesaeile declare it is big propo5- and whea be neared the Oridge, be saw
been blow across it. PIoraunatel they son. sed n'oklur de~iitely can be staged some ne bhaingig on It, bot did not know
an all itu act. Merwine hbve.lsl ever beea rectred trom Na hbo l was until be go bou hre yard
a lighters. Bethsebte bhas a quality of se,. s..quarers. It is hoped chai to the person. H tbee called:
wet uagar, stores aad groceries consider thboted Cross wil be above jlusl crlietoa "lMs Joet" To hiseb sanawrad lte
able I goods. on ths h cmsslo., and thereby assUre its lo.'" Mr. Baeeereoe declared "Just thee
tvldsItdl there will be ahortage of covtinus d supper 4 bhr pniepl. I slipped from the brhige sad ftund my
houae. Tbus far, however only a faw i i also beopd hat th6e Governmaat *lf eating agitOnt the raOk, in the ter
people have souighs refle as the Fort, will not e slow ia grlionl aid tol e pe rible esrres of eaer, and was taheo a
adthere no other aes of hunger pie Irom tbhe urricane Fund. bout 4W l)eelt dnow Ibe t. wbra my
ad prievtian a yet reponed. St Crola Is not alone, liti Ia sulffrio.K band truck a root and by hilddinl tnat 1
In dbrihtilnsted th repees dta a I St. rhomas. bs damage to property esaed my Itte. Bult never saw Mrs Dun
is sid to he equal to tit"itred is ul so be gtre. I S n Jun CiTy a can again unsll sbe wesloud br a search
sed, bt the number big hous dea lose, property damage is estlnlati at 0 l ap pars, tat I eel just aler reachniia
tSed, bOins lretr. ttdr bli hofsis dp l eec teo iillva dollars, ad atit has bhad town. Thb party oelssled of Msar; BV A
ioyed a larger. Hunded t of sp onotber tidal wae. neraMalitlda Petenro. irnesst Pilhe
bver soiuRht rafnogsn th rt d o MrsJose as lDwaa,.tllr -ef M e Ar.old O iLhbs Bell teorl Joe Lr i.ae
tber public buildings Mano haae lot Bugeae Baoerson, sad a reldeot of Es Artbur Saierr Mrs D.Uuca wea laid
their all, and are bag fad by the gow.- U COcaiirdii (PFOin's left ber nhme to rest 5 o'clooki thbi aseraooa.
ernmest. Ona soe eauts i e Mn Iff %oon aG u I o'clock reserday ,altr Wet End News -
try mas of Sbe Gresl houses base See nooe. Patrlsan Dennerseon -ho wrat "
ladly damagd, aod olay a few village is o mse if she was at home-. 1wl told Saturday, Sept. 15, Itl.
roIms are leIt alaadis. ltat sae had loft and perhaps reached
All sya ars now heing turned o M I.own.

The destructive hurricane of 1928 in the Virgin Islands
is fully described in the articles reproduced from The Bulletin
in the preceding page.

There was so much damage, in these islands, specially in
St. Croix which laid in the direct path of the storm, that assis-
tance was urgently needed.

Therefore, an appeal was made to the American Red Cross by
the Governor of the Virgin Islands at that time, Waldo Evans, and
according to his annual report this organization contributed with
lumber and other building materials and donated approximately
$15,000 in cash for relief work. Also, it gave food and distribu-
ted clothing to hundreds of families.

In addition, the Governor purchased approximately $20,000
worth of building material which were sold at cost and transported
to the islands through the Navy Department eliminating freight

Harbor and telephone reconstruction were immediately made
available by the St. Thomas Harbor Board and by diverting funds
previously appropriated for other projected improvements.

Birth of Hurricanes

A hurricane is born in a hot
moist air mass over the ocean.
The cyclonic motion is often star-
ted as opposing trade winds whirl
around each other. This occurs
during the summer months when the
Northeast and Southeast tradewinds
converge north of the equator.

The rotating low pushes air
toward its center, forcing the hot
moist air there to rise. As the
moist air rises, it slowly cools
and the moisture condenses. The
condensing moisture (rain) gives
off heat, further warming the ro-
tating air mass which becomes
even lighter and rises more ra-

As this whirling air rises,
more warm moist air flows in be-
hind to replace it. More conden-
sation occurs, more heat is pro-
duced, more warm moist air flows
in and the storm increases.

Hurricanes are so violent
because of the tremendous amounts
of energy(heat) released by the
continuous condensation. This is
similar to a thunderstorm over land;
however, the hurricane has a vir-
tually inexhaustible supply of moist
hot air to feed it. The heat given
off by condensation causes the air
in the hurricane to rise faster and
faster. Surrounding air sweeps
in rapidly until the hurricane is
a giant wheel of violent winds.


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during the Hurricane of August 2nd 1837

During the Hurricane described in the article from the St. Thomae
Tidende for August 9, 1837 the following meteorological observa-
ions were made and printed in that same issue. The format has
been modified for easier understanding and some additional notes
have been added in italics.

"In the morning the wind northerly, light and unsteady with over-
cast air. The Gale increased by degrees from the afternoon at
2:00 o'clock with heavy gusts of wind from the IT.E. to N.W. in this

August 2nd

Barometric Pressure

29.75 inches






middle state of the Barometer
with fair weather.

increasing gale

at 4 o'clock signal made and
a gun fired from Mt. Kjar's
Observatory as a warning for
approaching Hur.
From 5 o'clock the Hurricane
raged with increasing fury, the
wind between N.E. and N.W.
until 7:50 when it suddenly be-
came calm (the Eye, note the
extremely low pressurer, and which
continued to 8:40 when the
Hurricane suddenly again came
on from the South.

Heavy rain with thunder and
lightening during the whole
time of the Hurricane.

Decreasing Gale

A Fire broke out in town

Heavy rain from Z:00 to 3:00.
Overcast with some rain
and wind from S.E.










August 3rd

2:00 A.H.
5:39 A.M.
9:00 A.M.

August 4th
Time Barometric Pressure' Cnrea
6*00 A.M. 29.74 Essentialty aorvraZ bardet*id

August 5th
6:00 A.M. 29.75

Iran accounts by vessels arrived after the Hurricane from East and
West, the direction of the Hurricane has been between W. by N.
and W.N.W., and the progress about 14 miles per hour.


/27:50 PLA.

Evening of August 2, 1837

ll l DUI T CAM

S:oo00 P.M.

faa'wTA .s5UMe VA1sonAs,
rjTATftf*C MAcAs

Xf0m UP M 38 M.AH.-

WI/A0 55-73 M.P.w.

Hurricane Warning System

A system for giving advance warnings of hurri-
canes was established in 1938 by joint action of the
U.S. Weather Bureau, Air Force and the Navy. Recon-
naissance aircraft equipped with radar and advanced
weather instruments fly surveillance missions to sus-
pect areas.

When hurricanes or severe tropical disturbances
are spotted, the aircraft fly into the center of the
storm every six hours. During this time they take
readings on wind intensity, wind direction, location
and other meteorological data.

Based on this information, the Bureau issues
bulletins every six hours forecasting the probable
path of the storm, its intensity and related warning
information. As a hurricane intensifies and moves
toward land, official bulletins and warnings are
issued more and more frequently.

For the Caribbean area, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto
Rico serves as headquarters for the Navy Hurricane
Hunter squadron. For the East and Gulf coast of the
mainland there is a similar station at Jacksonville
(Florida) Naval Air Station.

Other important sources of information come from
Tiros, Essa and Nimbus satellites and ships at sea.
The satellites, transmitting pictures and meteorologi-
cal data back to earth, provide a means for spotting
hurricanes in their very early formative stages. Ships,
too, provide important early warning data when their
paths cross a tropical disturbance and the information
is radioed to the nearest meteorological station.

Through an intricate communications system all
information is fed into The Hurricane Forecast Center,
Maimi University, Coral Gables, Florida. In this Center
the da. interpreted and reports are fed to the lo-
cal Weather Bureau stations. The local stations then
make these reports public and issue forecasts and war-
nings as necessary for their area.

WIVN 74 M.pA vp


Interview someone in your community who has experienced any
hurricane. Put in writing their account and report it to
the class.

Ask a person from the community who has experienced a hurri-
cane to speak to the class about it.

Make the students aware of the importance of following the
weather news on radio, television, and the newspaper.

Invite a person from the Public Safety Department, Civil
Defense, Fire Department, etc. to give a talk about hurricane

Prepare a chronological list of hurricanes in the Virgin
Islands with dates and other places affected by them.

Investigate how hurricanes get their names and mention some
of them.

Explore role of satellites in weather forecasting (Contact

Field trips to study weather instruments in use. Trips to
the airports, Harbor Masters stations (Contact Science

Study weather instruments in the classroom: barometer,
thermometers, wet and dry, rain guages, etc. (contact Science

Study weather maps and related materials (Contact Puerto Rico
Weather Bureau).

Investigate current developments in hurricane detection.
(Contact University of Miami, FASA).



Evans, Waldo. Found in information on the Virgin Islands of the
United States. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,

Fassig, Oliver L., Hurricanes of the West Indies. Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1913.

Helm, Thomas. Hurricanes: Weather at its worst. Dodd, Mead, 1967.

Irving, Robert. Hurricanes and Twisters Knopf, 1955.

Knox, John P. A historical account of St. Thomas, W.I. Scribner,

Lehr, Paul. Weather: a guide to phenomena and forecasts. Golden,

Lewishon, Florence. Divers information on the romantic history of
St. Croix. St. Croix Landmarks Society, Inc., 1964.

Mitchell, Charles L. West Indian Purricanes. Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1-24.

Red Cross. The West Indies hurricane disaster. Washington, D.C.:
American National Red Cross, September 1928.

Spilhaus, Athelstan, F. Weathercraft: how to make and operate your
own weather station. Viking, 1951.

Tannehill, Ivan Roy Hurricanes. Princeton University Press, 1952.

The Virgin Islands of the United States: A general report of the
Governor, 1928.

Vestergaard, Waldoratr. The Danish West Indies, 1617-1917. Macmillan,

Whitnah, Donald. A history of the United States Weather Bureau.
University of Illinois, 1961.

'Zabriskie, Luther K. The Virgin Islands of the United States of
America. Putnam's Sons, 1918.


The Bulletin(St. Thomas), September 19, 1928.

Daily News(St. Thomas), September 22, 1932.

The Emancipator( St. Thomas), September 15, 1929; September 22, 1928.

Lightbourn's Mail Notes(St. Thomas) October 11, 1916; October 12, 1916

St. Thomae Tidende, August 9, 1837; November 13, 1867; November 16,

West End News(Frederiksted) October 11, 1916.


St. Thomas Public Library
Von Scholten Collection
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Tel. 774-0630

Mrs. Agatha Ragster
Science Supervisor
Department of Education
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Tel. 774-5370

Puerto Rico Weather Bureau
Forecast Service
Isla Verde Airport
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tel. 791-0320

Hurricane Forecast Center
Hurricane Research Center
Weather Bureau Building
University of Miami
Coral Gables, Florida

NASA(National Aeronautics
Manned Spacecraft Center
2101 Nasa Road 1
Houston, Texas



and Space Administration)

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