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Hurricane is a city in Washington County, Utah and is a part of the St. George Metropolitan Area. Its population was 13,748 at the 2010 U.S. Census. Along with several other areas of southwestern Utah, the Hurricane area has seen large population growth since the 1970s. Because of this, it has become a suburb of St. George, while still retaining its rural character.
Hurricane was first settled in 1896, and received its name after a whirlwind blew the top off of a buggy that Erastus Snow was riding in. Snow exclaimed, "Well, that was a Hurricane. We'll name this 'Hurricane Hill'."
Hurricane, which is pronounced "Hur-a-kin" by local residents (mimicking the accent of early Liverpool settlers), is in eastern Washington County. The community was settled as part of LDS Church President Brigham Young's 'Cotton Mission', intended to establish the southern end of Utah for agricultural purposes. The town once operated a large peach and apricot orchard for the LDS Church, and is historically known for growing peaches, pecans and pistachio nuts on small farms. The town boasts multiple parks, a new dog park, a city pool and large community center, several ranked golf courses, two reservoir lakes noted for bass fishing (Sand Hollow Recreation Area and Quail Lake State Park), as well as a small municipal airfield. There are several medical clinics in the area.
For approximately 80 years, the Hurricane Canal was the lifeblood of the Hurricane Valley. Built over a period of 11 years (1893–1904), mostly by pick and shovel, the canal stands as a testament to pioneer ingenuity and determination. Since 1985, the canal has lain empty. In 2000, special interest groups came together to preserve the canal, receiving grants and volunteering time to construct a trail to stand as a tribute to the sweat and toil early settlers put forth to make the canal a reality. A monument at the trailhead recounts the canal story in brief. Much of the trail, which only covers a small section of the canal, is the actual west bank of the canal, which “canal riders” rode every day when the canal was in operation to ensure there were no leaks or other problems since the bank was somewhat unstable. Two of the trail’s unique aspects are walking in the canal itself – on a steel flume across a wash and through a tunnel immediately thereafter. The trail provides excellent views of the towns of Hurricane and La Verkin throughout. The trail ends before reaching the Virgin River Gorge, approximately five miles from the canal’s former headwaters..
On December 30, 2006, an Arizona driver on the Utah State Route 59 just outside Hurricane lost control and crashed though the guardrail at around 80 mph. The truck struck the culvert, flipped over, and rotated 180 degrees before landing on the opposite side of a ravine. Due to the rare nature of the event, photos of the crash were suspected to be a hoax, but the Hurricane City Police department confirmed the entire sequence of events.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.5 square miles (81.7 km²), of which, 31.1 square miles (80.6 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km²) of it (1.39%) is water.
At the 2000 census, there were 8,250 people, 2,762 households and 2,201 families residing in the city. The population density was 265.2 per square mile (102.4/km²). There were 3,375 housing units at an average density of 108.5 per square mile (41.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.89% White, 0.16% African American, 0.96% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 1.16% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.72% of the population.
There were 2,762 households of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.0% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.3% were non-families. 18.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.38.
Age distribution was 32.8% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 21.6% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.
The median household income was $32,865, and the median family income was $36,955. Males had a median income of $30,172 versus $19,588 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,353. About 10.8% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
Shopping includes two large grocers (Walmart and Lin's), several national chain stores, fast food restaurants, family dining, elite sports related stores and an antiques mall.
On the town's periphery there is Walmart, Washington County Fair Grounds and Equestrian Center. Also, state DMV offices, Washington County Sheriff's Offices, Purgatory Correctional Facility and Dixie Area Juvenile Detention Center.
On the southeast edge of town, known locally as "the south fields," there is a subdivision of executive homes with a private landing strip, which allows commuting residents the luxury of taxiing to their homes' private garages. Geographically, the town is less than 100 miles from the north rim of the Grand Canyon, which makes it a popular destination for sport para-gliders.
The one main boulevard is State Street, recently renovated and designated Utah SR-9. From 100 East to 400 West, the shopping district is designated as a "historical district," with ongoing preservation efforts. Many of the larger homes in town are listed on the National Registry of Historic Homes.
The Grand Canyon is accessible via SR-59 (off State Street and 100 East). Proceeding directly through town, SR-9 also transitions (in neighboring La Verkin, Utah) to the highway that leads directly to Zion National Park.
Notable annual events: the large Peach Days Street Festival (held around Labor Day), the Easter Car Show, the Hurricane Valley Christmas Tree Festival and several athletic marathons.
The area enjoys the freedoms of rural life with some of the conveniences expected in modern life. Because it is so remote, crime is low (estimated to be under 1%, with almost no violent crime, historically). Social life centers around family/church.
Political: Hurricane demographically mirrors the conservative views held by most of Utah. Religious: Baptist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian, Catholic and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The polygamist communities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona are approximately 20 miles to the east, via SR-59.
Hurricane is a part of the Washington County School District.
Hurricane has one high school, Hurricane High School (encompassing grades 10-12), attended also by students from the surrounding communities of La Verkin, Toquerville and Springdale, among others. There are also two elementary schools, an intermediate school (grades 6-7) and a middle school (grades 8-9), as well as one charter school, Valley Academy (grades K-8).
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