by Nina York
From early times till the present day, weather conditions have been a favorite topic of conversation. As we all know, our quality of life depends on favorable weather and the many vagaries of weather patterns have caused much grief, whether it was an outdoor event rained out or a tornado, a tropical storm or hurricane bringing devastation. Both locally or worldwide, we have observed drastic changes in weather patterns, most of which have been disturbing.
In this part of the world, we have had to face hurricanes as long as we have kept records, although the so-called El Niño conditions have minimized Caribbean hurricanes in the last few years. One dramatic description of a hurricane hitting St. Croix in 1772 written by a young Alexander Hamilton led to his being sponsored to go to New York to further his education. Many weather reporters have become like rock stars, daring to encounter tornadoes and equally serious situations with live reports.
Weather in St. Croix varies with the seasons, but nowhere near as much as in temperate zones. And while there are increased summer temperatures and somewhat longer days, an almost constant breeze helps us cope with the heat. In fact, most households here do not use air conditioning but find that ceiling fans are adequate for comfortable living.
But if we contemplate what life here was like in former days without electricity, we get an understanding of the challenge tropical living must have been at a time when people wore far heavier clothing and did not even enjoy a swim in the ocean surrounding the island. Illnesses flourished and many succumbed.
In Denmark, the summer weather is not reliable. Rain and chilly temperatures alternate with warmer days, so all Danes are prepared for the worst and know how to dress accordingly. The country’s northern location brings very long summer days and brief nights. The winter months bring the opposite – and the long nights take their toll, both in terms of the darkness and of usually raw and miserable weather conditions. It is no wonder that the Danes are among the world’s most eager travelers, and sun-worshippers to boot, which we have been witness to, especially in recent years, with a large weekly influx of visitors during the winter season to these once Danish-owned islands.
A very serious hurricane by the name of Hugo brought devastation to our island in 1989, and even today we see traces of its destruction in abandoned buildings. Our churches offer a Hurricane Supplication Day July 25 and at the end of the season October 25 a Hurricane Thanksgiving Day (presumably for relief from such a disaster). We hope they are able to protect us!
by Nina York