Activity of the 1996 Tropical Cyclones in the Northwest Pacific

Ken Fung
Amateur Meteorologist, Hong Kong

Editor's Note: The editor has added "related story" at the end of each typhoon by linking to the CNN Weather page. The latest typhoon in last year, GREG, which hit Malaysia is not included in this report but included in the "News" section.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, last year (1996) was the most active in the development of tropical cyclones (TC) in the Northwest Pacific with total of 43 TCs. It exceeds the record of 1994, which had 41 TCs. In 1996, among 30 TCs named, 20 have intensified to Typhoons and 6 to Super-typhoons.

The highlight of the year, which showed the strongest intensity among the TCs which made landfalls, might be the Super-typhoon HERB (10W). HERB formed as a tropical depression around 16N 153E on July 23, then moved northwestwards intensifying to become a tropical storm on the next day. He moved to the northwest with a constant speed arriving at 20.4N then turned westward on July 25 turning into a typhoon on the same day. HERB kept moving westward until July 27. Then, he turned west-southwestward while intensifying with a maximum wind speed of 125 knots. He moved to the same direction with the same intensity until July 29 although the moving speed has decreased. Thereafter he turned to the northwest and speeded up, then turned to the west-northwest at 125E heading for Taiwan and China. When HERB landed on northern Taiwan, he was at the stage of a Super-typhoon with a maximum wind speed of 130 knots. His eye passed through just south of Taipei. Taiwan reported that 19 people killed, 400 people injured and 41 people missing. Having passed Taiwan, HERB moved to the west-northwest and landed on the coast of China with a maximum wind speed of 95 knots. [related story 1, 2]

Other major tropical cyclones in 1996:

BART (04W) formed around 7N 139E on May 9. He followed a west-northwestward track and kept intensifying until he passed 130E, then slowed down a little and turned to the northwest. BART kept moving northwestward heading for northern Philippines. On May 15, BART turned to the north with a maximum wind speed 115 knots, then moved to the northeast to become an extra-tropical cyclone on May 18.

EVE (07W) formed around 19N 144E and followed a straight northwestward track for 4 days to become a Super-typhoon at July 16. EVE turned to the north on July 17. Her landfall was made on southern Japan close to Kagoshima. EVE continued to weaken after the landfall while her track followed the coastline until she reached OSAKA then dissipated.

GLORIA (09W) formed just west of central Philippines (12N 129E). She moved in a dircetion of straight northwest to north-northwest, passing the northeast coast of Philippines by less than 100 km. Then, she landed shortly on southwest Taiwan with a maximum wind speed of 90 knots. Thereafter GLORIA turned to the west-northwest and made her second landfall on China then dissipated. [related story 1]

KIRK (13W) formed around 20N 133E. KIRK moved to the northwest on the first day, after which he started to make a loop in the square of 24-28N and 130-134E for a week while intensifying from a tropical depression to a typhoon. Thereafter KIRK moved to the northwest, passing Okinawa on August 12, then turned northeast and made his landfall on southwest Japan. KIRK almost hit the whole northwest coast of Japan. On July 16, KIRK became an extra-tropical cyclone on the Pacific east of Japan. [related story 1, 2]

NIKI (18W) had an almost straight westward track and affected 3 countries. She formed around 17N 131E, moved to the west and made her first landfall on northern Philippines with a maximum wind speed of 60 knots. After she attacked Philippines, she got her power back in the South China Sea. Her second landfall was on Hainan Island, China with a maximum wind speed of 90 knots while her third landfall was on northern Vietnam with a maximum wind speed of 65 knots. NIKI has travelled only from 17.0N to 20.5N in latitude (i.e., a latitudinal distance of 3.5 degree) while she has spanned from 130.6E to 105.1E in longitude (i.e., a longitudinal distance of 25.5 degree). [related story 1]

SALLY (23W) was a strong and fast-moving tropical cyclone formed around 14N 135E. On the first day, she moved to the west-northwest with a moving speed of typical tropical cyclones. After September 6, she turned to more westward and speeded up. She reached her maximum strength (140 knots) when she located close to the northeast coast of Philippines. She kept moving fast with a west-northwest to westward track until she made her landfall on the southeast coast of China with a wind speed around 100 knots.

VIOLET (26W) had a slow moving track during 11-20 September. VIOLET formed around 16N 130E, moving west during 11-13 September and northwest during 14-15 September, then turned to the northeast for the rest of the track. After speeding up, VIOLET ran to the northeast and passed just southeast of Tokyo on 22 September. She became an extra-tropical cyclone on 23 September. [related story 1, 2]

DALE (36W) was the strongest tropical cyclone over the Northwest Pacific in 1996. He formed around 10N 152E, slowly intensified and moved westward. Guam got DALE's attack on November 7 with 90 knots of wind speed. After attacking Guam, DALE turned to the northwest, kept intensifying and reached a maximum wind speed of 150 knots around 15N 135E. DALE kept the strength of a Super-typhoon for 2.5 days. Then he changed the direction to the northeast and turned into an extra-tropical cyclone, which continued until it reached 160E on November 13.

Some special cases:

Typhoon DAN (06W) happened to get the same name as another tropical cyclone developed on December 25 1995 because a new name set has been used since January 1996. DAN was the only one that repeated from the old name set. The name DAN was reused within 7 months since it has been used in 1995.

Tropical depression 17W formed around 30N 178E, crossed the dateline and weakened to be a low pressure system around 29N 178W.

Tropical depression 34W formed on the Gulf of Siam, moved to the northwest and went into the Indian Ocean.

Tropical depression 39W seems to have 'merged' with tropical storm ERNIE (37W) in the South China Sea on the mid-November.

Tropical depression 41W got the lowest latitude 3.0N on December 16.

Mr. Ken Fung
E-mail: kenf@hkstar.com
URL: http://home.hkstar.com/~kenf/home