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Typhoon Tip


Typhoon Tip

Super Typhoon Tip (Warling)
Typhoon (JMA scale)
Category 5 (Saffir–Simpson scale)
Typhoon Tip at global peak intensity on October 12, 1979
Formed October 4, 1979
Dissipated October 24, 1979
(Extratropical after October 19, 1979)
Highest winds 10-minute sustained: 260 km/h (160 mph)
1-minute sustained: 305 km/h (190 mph)
Lowest pressure 870 hPa (mbar); 25.69 inHg
(Worldwide record low)
Fatalities 99 total
Areas affected Caroline Islands, Japan, Russia
Part of the 1979 Pacific typhoon season

Typhoon Tip, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Warling, is the largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded. The nineteenth storm and twelfth typhoon of the 1979 Pacific typhoon season, Tip developed out of a disturbance from the monsoon trough on October 4 near Pohnpei. Initially, a tropical storm to the northwest hindered the development and motion of Tip, though after it tracked farther north Tip was able to intensify. After passing Guam, Tip rapidly intensified and reached peak winds of 305 km/h (190 mph)[nb 1] and a worldwide record-low sea-level pressure of 870 mbar (870.0 hPa; 25.69 inHg) on October 12. At its peak strength, it was also the largest tropical cyclone on record with a wind diameter of 2,220 km (1,380 mi). Tip slowly weakened as it continued west-northwestward and later turned to the northeast in response to an approaching trough. The typhoon made landfall in southern Japan on October 19, and became an extratropical cyclone shortly thereafter.

U.S. Air Force aircraft flew 60 weather reconnaissance missions into the typhoon, making Tip one of the most closely observed tropical cyclones.[1] Rainfall from Tip indirectly led to a fire that killed 13 Marines and injured 68 at Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan.[2] Elsewhere in the country, the typhoon caused widespread flooding and 42 deaths; offshore shipwrecks left 44 people killed or missing.


  • Meteorological history 1
  • Impact 2
  • Records and meteorological statistics 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6

Meteorological history

Satellite image of the path of the typhoon. It starts in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, arcs through Japan, and ends near the Aleutian Islands.
Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale

Three circulations developed within the Chuuk. A reconnaissance aircraft flight into the system late on October 4 confirmed the existence of a closed low-level circulation , and early on October 5 the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) issued its first warning on Tropical Depression Twenty-Three.[1]

Global satellite image of Typhoon Tip near peak strength and Typhoon Sarah heading toward Vietnam

While executing a loop near Chuuk, the tropical depression intensified into Tropical Storm Tip, though the storm failed to organize significantly due to the influence of Tropical Storm Roger. Reconnaissance aircraft provided the track of the surface circulation, since satellite imagery estimated the center was located about 60 km (37 mi) from its true position. After drifting erratically for several days, Tip began a steady northwest motion on October 8. By that time, Tropical Storm Roger had become an extratropical cyclone, resulting in the southerly flow to be entrained into Tip. An area of a tropical upper tropospheric trough moved to the north of Guam at the time, providing an excellent outflow channel north of Tip. Initially, the storm was predicted to continue northwestward and make landfall on Guam, though it turned to the west early on October 9, passing about 45 km (28 mi) south of the island. Later that day, Tip intensified to attain typhoon status.[1]

Owing to very favorable conditions for development, Typhoon Tip rapidly intensified over the open waters of the western Pacific Ocean. Late on October 10, the typhoon attained wind speeds equal to Category 4 strength on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale, and it became a super typhoon the next day. The central pressure dropped by 92 mbar (92.0 hPa; 2.72 inHg) from October 9 to 11, during which the circulation pattern of Typhoon Tip expanded to a record diameter of 2,220 km (1,380 mi). The typhoon continued to intensify further, and early on October 12 reconnaissance aircraft recorded a worldwide record-low pressure of 870 mbar (870.0 hPa; 25.69 inHg) with winds of 305 km/h (190 mph), when Tip was located about 840 km (520 mi) west-northwest of Guam.[1] In its best track, the Japan Meteorological Agency listed Tip as peaking with 10-minute sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h).[3] At the time of its peak strength, its eye was 15 km (9.3 mi) wide.[1] Tip crossed the 135th meridian east on the afternoon of October 13, prompting the Philippine Weather Bureau to issue warnings on Typhoon Tip, assigning it the local name Warling.

After peaking intensity, Tip weakened to 230 km/h (140 mph) and remained at that intensity for several days as it continued west-northwestward. For five days after its peak strength, the average radius of winds stronger than 55 km/h (34 mph) extended over 1,100 km (684 mi). On October 17, Tip began to weaken steadily and decrease in size, recurving northeastward under the influence of a mid-level trough the next day. After passing about 65 km (40 mi) east of Okinawa, the typhoon accelerated to 75 km/h (47 mph). Tip made landfall on the Japanese island of Honshū with winds of about 130 km/h (81 mph) on October 19. It continued rapidly northeastward through the country and became an extratropical cyclone over northern Honshū a few hours after moving ashore.[1] The extratropical remnant of Tip proceeded northeastward and gradually weakened, crossing the International Date Line on October 22. It was last observed near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.[3]


Most intense Pacific typhoons
Typhoon Season Pressure
hPa inHg
Tip 1979 870 25.7
June 1975 876 25.9
Nora 1973 877 25.9
Ida 1958 877 25.9
Kit 1966 880 26.0
Rita 1978 880 26.0
Vanessa 1984 880 26.0
Irma 1971 884 26.1
Nina 1953 885 26.1
Joan 1959 885 26.1
Forrest 1983 885 26.1
Megi 2010 885 26.1
Source:JMA Typhoon Best Track Analysis
Information for the North Western Pacific Ocean.[4]

The typhoon produced heavy rainfall early in its lifetime while passing near Guam, including a total of 23.1 cm (9.09 in) at Andersen Air Force Base.[1] The outer rainbands of the large circulation of Tip produced moderate rainfall in the mountainous regions of the Philippine island of Luzon.[5]

Heavy rainfall from the typhoon breached a flood-retaining wall at Camp Fuji, a training facility for the United States Marine Corps near Yokosuka.[6] Marines inside the camp weathered the storm inside huts situated at the base of a hill which housed a fuel farm. The breach led to hoses being dislodged from two rubber storage bladders, releasing large quantities of fuel. The fuel flowed down the hill and was ignited by a heater used to warm one of the huts.[7][8][9] The resultant fire killed 13 Marines, injured 68,[1] and caused moderate damage to the facility. The facility's barracks were destroyed,[6] along with fifteen huts and several other structures.[7][10] The barracks were rebuilt,[6] and a memorial was established for those who lost their lives in the fire.[7]

During recurvature, Typhoon Tip passed about 65 km (40 mi) east of Okinawa. Sustained winds reached 72 km/h (44 mph), with gusts to 112 km/h (69 mph). Sustained wind velocities in Japan are not known, though they were estimated at minimal typhoon strength. The passage of the typhoon through the region resulted in millions of dollars in damage to the agricultural and fishing industries of the country.[1] Eight ships were grounded or sunk by Tip, leaving 44 fishermen dead or unaccounted for. A Chinese freighter broke in half as a result of the typhoon, though its crew of 46 were rescued.[5] The rainfall led to over 600 mudslides throughout the mountainous regions of Japan and flooded more than 22,000 homes; 42 people died throughout the country, with another 71 missing and 283 injured.[5] River embankments broke in 70 places, destroying 27 bridges, while about 105 dikes were destroyed. Following the storm, at least 11,000 people were left homeless. Tip destroyed apple, rice, peach and other crops. Five ships sank in heavy seas off the coast and 50-story buildings swayed in the capital, Tokyo.[11][12] Transportation in the country was disrupted; 200 trains and 160 domestic flights were canceled.[13] Tip was described as the most severe storm to strike Japan in 13 years.[14]

Records and meteorological statistics

Depictions of Typhoon Tip and Cyclone Tracy (one of the smallest tropical cyclones ever recorded) superimposed to-scale on a map of the United States.

Typhoon Tip was the largest tropical cyclone on record, with a diameter of 1,380 mi (2,220 km)—almost double the previous record of 700 mi (1,130 km) set by Typhoon Marge in August 1951.[15][16][17] At its largest, Tip was nearly half the size of the contiguous United States.[18] The temperature inside the eye of Typhoon Tip at peak intensity was 30 °C (86 °F) and described as exceptionally high.[1] With 10-minute sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h), Typhoon Tip is the strongest cyclone in the complete tropical cyclone listing by the Japan Meteorological Agency.[3]

The typhoon was also the most intense tropical cyclone on record with a pressure of 870 mbar (25.69 inHg), 6 mbar (0.18 inHg) lower than the previous record set by Super Typhoon June in 1975.[1][19][20] The records set by Tip still technically stand, though with the end of routine reconnaissance aircraft flights in the western Pacific Ocean in August 1987, modern researchers have questioned whether Tip indeed remains the strongest. After a detailed study, three researchers determined that two typhoons, Angela in 1995 and Gay in 1992, registered higher Dvorak numbers than Tip, and concluded that one or both of the two may have therefore been more intense.[21] Other recent storms may have also been deeper than Tip at its peak; for instance, satellite-derived intensity estimates for Typhoon Haiyan of 2013 indicated that its core pressure may have been as low as 858 mbar (25.34 inHg).[22] Due to the dearth of direct observations into these cyclones, conclusive data are lacking.[21] Despite the typhoon's intensity and damage, the name Tip was not retired and was reused in 1983, 1986, and 1989.[3]

See also


  1. ^ All wind speeds in the article are maximum sustained winds sustained for one minute, unless otherwise noted.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k George M. Dunnavan; John W. Dierks (1980). "An Analysis of Super Typhoon Tip (October 1979)" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review (Joint Typhoon Warning Center) 108 (II): 1915–1923.  
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Japan Meteorological Agency (2010-01-12). "Best Track for Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclones" (TXT). Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  4. ^ Japan Meteorological Agency (2010-01-12). "JMA Typhoon Best Track Analysis Information for the North Western Pacific Ocean" (TXT). Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  5. ^ a b c Debi Iacovelli; Tim Vasquez (August 1998). Marthin S. Baron, ed. "Super Typhoon Tip: Shattering all records" (PDF). Mariners Weather Log (Voluntary Observing Ship Project) 42 (2): 4–8.  
  6. ^ a b c "History of the U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FOUR". U.S. Naval Construction Force. 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  7. ^ a b c "Camp Fuji Fire Memorial". United States Marine Corps. 2006-08-03. Archived from the original on February 25, 2008. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  8. ^ "Second U.S. Marine Dies In Typhoon-Caused Fire". The Washington Post. 1979-10-20. 
  9. ^ "Marine Killed in Japanese Typhooe [sic]". The Washington Post. 1979-10-20. 
  10. ^ "1 Marine Killed as Typhoon Hits Facility in Japan".  
  11. ^ "25 are killed as Typhoon Tip crosses Japan". The Globe and Mail. Reuters. 1979-10-20. 
  12. ^ "International News". Associated Press. 1979-10-19. 
  13. ^ "International News". Associated Press. 1979-10-18. 
  14. ^ "International News". Associated Press. 1979-10-22. 
  15. ^ National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters (2010-01-05). "Tropical Cyclone Structure". JetStream - Online School for Weather: Tropical Weather. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  16. ^ Bryan Norcross (2007). Hurricane Almanac: The Essential Guide to Storms Past, Present, and Future.  
  17. ^ Steve Stone (2005-09-22). "Rare Category 5 hurricane is history in the making". The Virginia Pilot. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  18. ^ M. Ragheb (2011-09-25). "Natural Disasters and Man made Accidents" (PDF). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  19. ^ Jay Barnes (2007). Florida's Hurricane History. Chapel Hill Press. p. 15.  
  20. ^ National Weather Service (2005). "Super Typhoon Tip". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  21. ^ a b Karl Hoarau; Gary Padgett; Jean-Paul Hoarau (2004). Have there been any typhoons stronger than Super Typhoon Tip? (PDF). 26th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology. Miami, Florida: American Meteorological Society. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  22. ^ Satellite Services Division (2013). "Typhoon 31W". National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
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