Hurricane Recovery Journal
Follow Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument as we recover from two devastating hurricanes that ravaged St. John and the rest of the Leeward Islands in 2017. Hurricane Irma struck St. John on September 6, 2017, and changed the island forever.
Once the storm passed, the worst was yet to come. Venturing outside for the first time and seeing the destruction was impossible to comprehend. Every leaf was stripped from the island. All the telephone poles were down. Most of the island trees had been toppled and many were tangled with the poles and wires.
Work and evidence of recovery had already started when the news of Hurricane Maria baring down on us brought everyone to their knees. The Navy, National Guard, and many other groups who had come to assist were evacuated.
After Hurricane Maria brought further rain,wind and destruction, there was nothing to do but move forward, one step at a time. Virgin Islanders, and especially St. Johnians, are a courageous lot!
We have compiled articles, vides and images so that you can follow our progress.
Pre storm Meandrina in mangrove roots, filled with fish, sponges and other creatures. Caroline Rogers
Post storm Meandrina, notice the lack of fish, sponges and the tumbled coral. Caroline Rogers
It was hoped that St. John would have 90% power by Christmas.
We think the goal has been reached!! We have even better news: they are now running power lines to the remote areas of St. John.
All beaches, trails and roads are open!!
Fifth Beach Reopens at Virgin Islands National Park
Maho Bay post Hurricane Irma Christy McManus
Maho Bay Opens NPS photo
The Fate of Cinnamon Bay Archaeology MuseumDecember 4, 2017
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Cinnamon Bay Archaeology Museum was destroyed during Hurricane Irma, September 5, 2017.
Trunk Bay Open
November 21, 2017
Boats in Water Creek Pre Irma Photo by Christy McManus
Boats in Water Creek Post Irma Photo by Christy McManus
November 18, 2017
What's Happening in the water?
November 11, 2017
Think scuba divers have a glamorous job? When most people hear about National Park Service divers at Virgin Islands National Park, they envision the tropical recreational dives that showcase coral and fish. While this underwater scenery exists, and scientific dives are conducted for natural resource monitoring and protection; much of the diving that occurs is to do preventative and repair maintenance on the over 400 buoys that are our responsibility. Some serve as aids to navigation that prevent boaters from running aground, marking navigational channels, and others provide a mooring space that prevents damage to coral and reefs.
Divers have been resetting the seven yellow (special informational) buoys around Johnson’s Reef. These markers prevent damage to both the reef and to vessels. Each connects to a 4,000 pound concrete block set on the seafloor. Impacted by both hurricanes Irma and Maria, several buoys were detached and washed ashore. Other buoys were hit with so much force; they lifted the concrete blocks and were moved off their anchoring. Divers used airbags to lift the blocks and relocate them in the correct location and then reattached the buoys.
Dive teams have successfully made the repairs to these seven buoys and are continuing the long process of visually inspecting the remaining buoys; in addition to looking for submerged debris in areas along the beaches.
November 10, 2017
Happy Veteran’s Day
from Virgin Islands National Park! American citizens since 1927, residents of the US Virgin Islands serve in all branches of the U.S. Military. Thank you to the veterans on the Virgin Islands staff as well as the veterans on the Incident Management Team who are helping with the hurricane recovery work!
Assessing Historic Sites
November 8, 2017
Archeologists from the NPS’ Southeast Archeological Center, Biscayne National Park, and Rock Creek Park have been on the ground at Virgin Islands National Park conducting assessments of the archeological and historical sites following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. To date the team has visited over 50% of all the sites, noting damages to the unique cultural heritage of St. John that was brought by the storms. While some sites have sustained damaged, others were untouched.
Cinnamon Bay Lab 2016 Photo by Anne Finney
Cinnamon Bay Lab Post Hurricanes Irma & Maria Photo by Christy McManus
Another Possible Storm
September 16, 2017
Last updated: June 14, 2018