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Typhoon Sarah (1959)

From Wikipedia
Typhoon Sarah
Category 5 super typhoon ( SSHWS)
Typhoon Sarah surface analysis September 15, 1959.png
Surface weather analysis of Typhoon Sarah on September 15
FormedSeptember 11, 1959
DissipatedSeptember 23, 1959
( Extratropical after September 19, 1959)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 305 km/h (190 mph)
Lowest pressure905 hPa ( mbar); 26.72 inHg
FatalitiesAround 2,000
Damage$102 million (1959 USD)
Areas affectedJapan, South Korea, Soviet Union
Part of the 1959 Pacific typhoon season

Typhoon Sarah, as known as the Miyakojima Typhoon in Japan was among the deadliest typhoons on record in the western Pacific Ocean, killing around 2,000 people. It formed during the peak of the busy 1959 Pacific typhoon season near Guam, and moved generally to the west-northwest. Continued observations from the hurricane hunters allowed the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) to track Sarah from its origins to its peak as a powerful typhoon, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 305 km/h (190 mph) on September 15. Shortly thereafter, the typhoon struck the small Japanese island of Miyako-jima, where the barometric pressure fell to 908.1 mbar (26.82 inHg), the second-lowest on record for the country. Sarah turned to the north and northeast, weakening from its peak intensity. On September 17, the typhoon made landfall just west of Busan, South Korea with winds of 185 km/h (115 mph), the nation's strongest landfall at the time and only to be surpassed by Typhoon Maemi in 2003. Sarah later became extratropical over the Japanese island of Hokkaido on September 18, although the remnants persisted for several days, crossing into the Russian Far East and later dissipating on September 23.

On Miyako-jima, Sarah damaged all of the crops and destroyed about 6,000 houses. Damage was estimated at $2 million, [nb 1] and there were seven deaths. The damage prompted the Japan Meteorological Agency to give Sarah the special name of the "Miyakojima Typhoon". However, the effects were worst in South Korea, and Sarah was described as the worst typhoon there in 50 years. Wind gusts there peaked at 169 km/h (105 mph), the highest at the time in the country. High winds and waves heavily damaged the port of Busan. Nationwide, the storm destroyed over 14,000 homes and left 782,126 people homeless, causing over $100 million in damage. At least 669 people were killed in South Korea, and an additional 1,200 fishermen were lost offshore the country. In Japan, widespread flooding killed 47 people and destroyed 16,632 homes.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

On September 10, a tropical disturbance persisted within the Intertropical Convergence Zone near Pohnpei. When the hurricane hunters approached the system at 02:00  UTC on September 11, they observed a center with several small circulations about 130 km (80 mi) east of Guam. On that basis, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center [nb 2] classified the system as Tropical Depression Sarah. The depression passed near or just north of Guam, as tracked by radar. By late on September 11, the hurricane hunters were reporting flight-level winds of 95 km/h (60 mph). Early on September 12, the JTWC upgraded Sarah to a tropical storm after the circulation became better defined. The storm exhibited a parabolic trajectory that was slightly to the west of the typical September storm. It moved westward initially but gradually curved to the northwest. A hurricane hunters flight at 14:15 UTC on September 12 observed a 65 km (40 mi) eye diameter, prompting the JTWC to upgrade Sarah further to typhoon status, with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h (75 mph). [1] [nb 3]

After becoming a typhoon, Sarah quickly intensified; at 08:00 UTC on September 13, the hurricane hunters reported flight-level winds of 185 km/h (115 mph). [1] Subsequent analysis estimated that the typhoon attained these winds at 00:00 UTC that day. At 12:00 UTC on September 14, the JTWC estimated that Sarah intensified to the equivalent of a Category 5 on the Saffir–Simpson scale, [2] based on aircraft estimates. The typhoon intensified further, and late on September 14 the hurricane hunters reported flight-level winds of 250 km/h (155 mph), estimating surface winds of 315 km/h (195 mph). [1] The intensity was adjusted slightly downward in a post-analysis, with peak winds of 305 km/h (190 mph) at 06:00 UTC on September 15 about 415 km (260 mi) east of Taiwan. In addition, the typhoon attained a minimum barometric pressure of 905 mbar (26.7 inHg). [2]

About three hours after Sarah reached peak winds, the typhoon moved directly over Miyako-jima, an island of Japan east of Taiwan. Sarah weakened while curving to the north, and it passed west of Okinawa late on September 15. [1] The winds dropped quickly; by 24 hours after peak intensity, Sarah's winds had decreased from 305 km/h (190 mph) to 185 km/h (115 mph). The typhoon turned and accelerated to the northeast toward the Korean peninsula, re-intensifying slightly. By late on September 16, the winds increased to 215 km/h (135 mph) while Sarah passed just east of Jeju island. The typhoon weakened again to winds of 185 km/h (115 mph) by 00:00 UTC on September 17. [1] That day, Sarah made landfall a few miles west of Busan, South Korea at that intensity; [1] [3] this made Sarah the strongest typhoon to strike the country since records began in 1904, and it remained as such until Typhoon Maemi surpassed it in 2003. [3] The typhoon very quickly emerged into the Sea of Japan, its circulation becoming poorly defined. On September 18, Sarah became extratropical after moving over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. [1] The remnants continued to the northeast initially before turning sharply westward, passing over Sakhalin. The circulation progressed into Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East before turning back east. Former Typhoon Sarah struck Sakhalin a second time on September 20 while moving east-southeastward. After passing through the Kuril Islands, the remnants of Sarah dissipated on September 23. [2]

Preparations and impact

Significant typhoons with special names
(from the Japan Meteorological Agency)
Name Number Japanese name
Marie T5415 Toyamaru Typhoon(洞爺丸台風)
Ida T5822 Kanogawa Typhoon(狩野川台風)
Sarah T5914 Miyakojima Typhoon(宮古島台風)
Vera T5915 Isewan Typhoon(伊勢湾台風)
Nancy T6118 2nd Muroto Typhoon(第2室戸台風)
Cora T6618 2nd Miyakojima Typhoon(第2宮古島台風)
Della T6816 3rd Miyakojima Typhoon(第3宮古島台風)
Babe T7709 Okinoerabu Typhoon(沖永良部台風)
Faxai T1915 Reiwa 1 Bōsō Peninsula Typhoon(令和元年房総半島台風)
Hagibis T1919 Reiwa 1 East Japan Typhoon(令和元年東日本台風)
Reference: [4]

Early in its duration, Sarah brought gusty winds and passing showers to Guam. [1]

Shortly after reaching peak intensity, Sarah passed near the island of Miyako-jima. [1] The pressure there fell to 908.1 mbar (26.82 inHg), which was the lowest recorded for the station and the second-lowest on record for Japan, both as of 2003. [5] The typhoon produced sustained winds of 196 km/h (122 mph) and gusts up to 240 km/h (150 mph) before the anemometer broke. The winds destroyed over 6,000 homes and wrecked all of the crops. Sarah also left the island without power for an extended period of time after damaging power lines. The combination of high winds and rough seas destroyed a fishing pier and 670 m (2,200 ft) of seawall, [1] as well as several tidal weirs. [6] Sarah also sank four fishing boats and damaged seven others. [7] On Miyako-jima, Sarah killed seven people, injured 88 others, and left $2 million in damage. [1] The heavy damage on the island prompted the Japan Meteorological Agency to give Sarah the special name of the "Miyakojima Typhoon". [8] Sarah was part of a series of typhoons striking the island in 1959, causing food shortages that forced the population to change their diet. [9] The storm brushed Okinawa with gusts of 135 km/h (85 mph). [1]

Sarah was the worst typhoon to strike the Korean peninsula in 50 years. [1] The peak wind gust in South Korea was 169 km/h (105 mph), which was the highest for a typhoon at the time, with records dating back to 1904; as of 2010, the value has fallen to the ninth place. [10] Damage was heaviest at Busan where the storm struck. The port there sustained over $100,000 in damage, and nearby American military bases had over $900,000 in damage. Coastal floods washed away or damaged 15,379 homes in the Busan area, leaving 25,834 people homeless. The waves also damaged or sank 5,400 boats. Nationwide, floods damaged 127,000  hectares (313,000  acres) of crop fields. Throughout South Korea, Sarah destroyed over 14,000 homes and left 782,126 people homeless, thousands of whom were injured. The Ministry of Social Affairs estimated property damage at over $100 million, and the typhoon killed at least 669 people. [1] After the storm, the CARE relief agency launched an appeal in the United States, collecting $18,500 worth of shoes and underwear for storm victims. [11] The Australian Red Cross also provided assistance to the country, including money, sheets, and blankets. [12] Due to the ongoing Korean War and Sarah, South Korea lost much of its fishing fleet, resulting in diminished catches over the subsequent decades. [13] The typhoon also caused a rise in the wholesale price index, in conjunction with political uncertainty. [14]

A fleet of 46 boats left Oenarodo near Busan on August 28 to fish near Komundo Island. The fleet failed to return after the passage of Typhoon Sarah, and local newspapers reported all 1,200 fishermen were lost. [15]

Late in its duration, Sarah struck Hokkaido, [1] producing a 6 m (20 ft) storm surge at Taisei along the southwest coast that left behind a sediment layer 60 m (200 ft) inland. [16] Before the storm arrived, the United States evacuated plans from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to Misawa Air Base, although Sarah approached closer to the latter base. [17] The storm affected much of the nation, flooding many communities, [1] including 14,360 houses. Across the country, the typhoon damaged 778 boats. The storm also damaged 3,566 ha (8,810 acres) of crop fields. Nationwide, Sarah destroyed 16,632 homes, injured 509 people, and killed 47. [18]

Overall, Typhoon Sarah caused around 2,000 deaths, making it among the deadliest typhoons on record. [19]

See also


  1. ^ All damage totals are in 1959 United States dollars
  2. ^ The Joint Typhoon Warning Center was established in 1959 to track typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean for United States government agencies operating in the region. [1]
  3. ^ All wind values in the article are in 1 minute sustained winds unless otherwise stated.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Typhoon Sarah (11-18 September, 1959) (PDF) (1959 Annual Tropical Cyclone Report). Joint Typhoon Warning Center. pp. 102–105. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Kenneth R. Knapp; Michael C. Kruk; David H. Levinson; Howard J. Diamond; Charles J. Neumann (2010). 1959 Sarah (1959254N14148). The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS): Unifying tropical cyclone best track data (Report). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Guy Carpenter. Typhoon Maemi Loss Report 2003 (PDF) (Report). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  4. ^ "気象庁が名称を定めた気象・地震・火山現象一覧" (in Japanese). Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  5. ^ Kevin Boyle (February 4, 2004). "September 2003 Tropical Weather Summary". Gary Padgett. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  6. ^ Asahitaro Nishimura (1981). "Maritime counterpart to megalithic culture on land". Journal de la Société des océanistes. 87 (72–73): 257. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Typhoon Sarah Kills Six Today". The Desert Sun. United Press International. September 16, 1959. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "Reference Room, List of Significant Typhoons with Special Names". Digital Typhoon. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  9. ^ Yin-Tak Woo; David Y. Lai; Joseph C. Arcos (1988). Chemical Induction of Cancer. Academic Press, Inc. p. 205. ISBN  9781483216027.
  10. ^ Ki-Ho Chang (2013). Recent Activities of National Typhoon Center (PDF) (Report). Korea Meteorological Administration. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "CARE Issues Appeal for Aid For Homeless". The Desert Sun. United Press International. October 10, 1959. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "Disaster in Korea". The Western Herald. October 9, 1959. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  13. ^ Soohyun Shon; Sarah Harper; Dirk Zeller (2014). Reconstruction of Marine Fisheries Catches for the Republic of Korea (South Korea) from 1950-2010 (PDF) (Report). University of British Columbia. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  14. ^ Report of the United States Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (PDF) (Report). United Nations. 1960. p. 7.
  15. ^ "Nagoya Hard Hit". The Daily Herald. Provo, Utah. United Press. September 27, 1959. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  16. ^ F. Nanayamaa; K. Shigenob; K. Satakea; K. Shimokawaa; S. Koitabashic; S. Miyasakac; M. Ishiic (September 2000). "Sedimentary differences between the 1993 Hokkaido-nansei-oki tsunami and the 1959 Miyakojima typhoon at Taisei, southwestern Hokkaido, northern Japan". Sedimentary Geology. 135 (1–4): 255–264. Bibcode: 2000SedG..135..255N. doi: 10.1016/S0037-0738(00)00076-2.
  17. ^ "VP-1 History". December 1, 1996. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  18. ^ Digital Typhoon. Typhoon 195914 (Sarah) (Report). Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  19. ^ Shri. P.G. Dhar Chakrabarti. Cyclones (PDF) (Report). South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation Disaster Management Center. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015.

External links

  • Blog post about the effects on Miyako-jima (in Japanese)