In the Czech Republic, every day of the year has a unique personal name, in which people celebrate the “name day” that corresponds with their own — except for national holidays. In a bizarre coincidence, September 10th’s name just so happens to be Irma, same as the hurricane that is expected to touch down on the Southern United States over the weekend.
The calendar is not just fun and games. In the past, parents were expected to choose the name that corresponded with that day, all of which were originally pulled from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints. Unique or unusual names would have to be submitted and approved by a government office. Many of the names on the original list have been updated in recent decades to keep up with modern trends, however.
Name Day gained even greater meaning to the people of the Czech Republic in the 1980’s due to the fall of Communism and resurgence of the importance of individual identity versus serfdom for the “state.”
The US community with the most residents born in the Czech Republic also happens to be Masaryktown, Florida.
Hurricanes are named after humans because it is easier to remember than numbers or scientific terms. The Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization uses six alphabetically-arranged lists of 21 names for naming the storms. Names currently in the roster can be found on the National Hurricane Center website.
Given that both lists have names chosen long ago, the coincidence has been noted as quite remarkable by those who are familiar with the Name Day traditions.
Florida residents in several areas have now been ordered to evacuate as the category five hurricane is expected to hit as soon as Friday. Irma has already struck the small island of Barbuda, which has been reduced to nearly 100% rubble. Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of the island, has stated that “the entire housing stock was damaged. It is just total devastation.” He added that the island is nearly uninhabitable in the hurricane’s wake.
Likewise, the island of Saint-Martin is “almost destroyed,” according to government officials and Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean has been “completely and utterly devastated.”
“I have never seen anything like this hurricane. Necker and the whole area have been completely and utterly devastated,” Branson wrote in a blog post on the Virgin website. Fortunately, he and his staff are all safe and physically unharmed.
Irma is the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Atlantic basin outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Endangered California Condor Seen in Sequoia National Park for the First Time in 50 Years
It’s the largest bird in North America.
One of the most endangered animals in the United States has been observed in a national park that is part of its historical range. The National Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services confirmed in a joint statement that six California Condors have been seeing flying above the Sequoia National Park in Eastern California.
The birds were also photographed by park personnel.
A biologist of the Santa Barbara Zoo confirmed that specimens being GPS-tracked by the zoo had been geolocated in the national park.
“We use GPS transmitters to track the birds’ movement, which can be over hundreds of miles on a single day,” said Dave Meyer. “On this particular day we documented the birds’ signals around Giant Forest, and we are excited that park employees observed the birds and confirmed their use of this important historic habitat.”
The Sequoia National Park consists of more then 400,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The rare vultures, which feed upon carrion, had once been known to nest in the great Sequoia trees of the park, before disappearing from the habitat around the 1970’s.
The California Condor is a New World vulture, and an exceptionally large bird, the largest native to North America. It range once broadly consisted of the entire western United States, spanning from Canada to Baja California in Mexico.
It had been declared to be extinct in the wild in 1987, but a preservation program to save the species has proved successful in reintroducing captive individuals to the wild in northern Arizona and Utah. Poaching, habitat destruction, and poisoning from manmade chemicals have severely eroded the population of the birds in the wild, and it’s currently listed as critically endangered. Preservation efforts have increased the wild population of the California Condor from merely 22 animals to more than 400 today.
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