storm sinking ship

The Santa Rosa is a Legendary Storm that hits the Andes mountain range every year and leaves so much snow that people generally don’t even survive to count it all. Or so goes the modern myth of the Santa Rosa.  But, the reality of the Santa Rosa is just as interesting.

santa rosa storm powder skiing

The sensory experience behind a Santa Rosa Storm.  photo:

The original Santa Rosa legend stems from 1615 when Dutch pirates were en route to ransack Lima, Peru (the most corrupt city on Earth according to Herman Melville). A woman named Isabel Flores de Oliva (who later became a saint named…Santa Rosa) asked God to brew up a vicious storm to thrash the Dutch pirates on the high seas.  Legend has it that God conjured up the storm, sank the Dutch pirate ships, and saved Lima. Murdering pirates is saintly, no?

santa rosa de limaSanta Rosa de Lima – the pirate murdering goddess.

(Other STUPENDOUS Navy-Gets-Scorned-By-Weather Stories: 1 – The Spanish Armada of 1588 loses 60 ships & 20,000 sailors in an attempted invasion of England during a monstrous North Atlantic Storm.  2 – The Kamikazi (Divine Wind) of 1281 destroys 4,000 ships and kills 100,000 Mongolians (lead by Gengis Khan’s grandson Kublai) attempting to overtake Japan.)

spanish armada 1588The British battle the Spanish Armada of 1588.


This famous painting likely well depicts what the Mongolians came up against while trying to attack Japan.

Meteorologists attribute the Santa Rosa Storm to the first warm winds of the spring clashing with cold fronts from Antarctic Seas.

The Santa Rosa Storm is destined to come 5 days before or 5 days after the festival of Santa Rosa that occurs in Peru each year on August 30th.

Eduardos Las Leñas argentina

Las Leñas after a friendly Santa Rosa Storm.

In Argentine and Chilean snow culture the Santa Rosa is bigger now than it probably ever was back in the 1600s.  Nowadays, the Santa Rosa Storm is considered the last hurrah of the winter storm season and one of the most violent tempists of the year.  Last season it was no joke as it dumped 6 feet of snow in 3 days in Bariloche, Argentina on September 5th.

entre rios las leñas argentina backcountry 2011The type of terrain that gets “Santa Rosa-ed” in South America.

The Santa Rosa Storm is supposed to hit Buenos Aires, Argentina hard every year.  In reality, the Santa Rosa has only appeared in Buenos Aires 16 times within the allotted timeframe since 1861.

buenos aires during santa rosa storm

Buenos Aires during a Santa Rosa Storm.  photo:

Myth vs. Reality, which to believe?  Why the hell wouldn’t you believe this myth!? Magical realism has been completely squashed by modern anglo-saxon culture but is still alive and well in Latin America.  I, for one, believe strongly in the storm and can’t wait for it to come each year.

huge storm from space

Santa Rosa Storm from Space…well, no, not really.  photo:

9 replies on “The Legend of the South American Santa Rosa Storm | Myth vs. Reality”