2006 in review: the global tropical cyclone season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:08 PM GMT on January 04, 2007

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While no records were set in any ocean basin for number of tropical cyclones or number of intense tropical cyclones, 2006 saw a number of remarkable storms. Here's a summary of the most notable storms of the year, and the hardest hit countries:

Most intense tropical cyclone of 2006: Cyclone Monica.
Tropical Cyclone Monica, which made landfall on the sparsely populated northern coast of Australia in April, was the most intense tropical cyclone of 2006. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated maximum sustained winds of 180 mph with gusts to 220 mph at 00 GMT April 24, and a minimum pressure of 879 mb. However, other satellite measurements of Monica's peak intensity were different--TCWC Darwin reported a minimum pressure of 905 mb at 5:00pm ACST (0730 UTC) on April 23, and an unofficial estimate from the University of Wisconsin put Monica's lowest pressure at 868.5 mb--1.5 mb lower than the world record low pressure observed in Super Typhoon Tip of 1979. Monica brought a 5-6 meter (16-20 foot) storm surge to the coast when it made landfall, and Margie Kieper's View From the Surface blog from yesterday has an impressive photo of the incredible damage Monica did to the forest on the Australian coast.

Monica was the most intense cyclone ever observed in the Southern Hemisphere, which is remarkable, given that she formed in the last half of April, when the Australian cyclone season is typically over. The co-record holder, also with a minimum pressure of 879 mb, is held by Cyclone Zoe of 2002, a Category 5 storm that affected several small islands in the Solomon chain. Reliable records of Southern Hemisphere cyclones only go back to the 1980s, so it is likely that there were other storms with lower pressures in the Southern Hemisphere during the past century. The lowest pressure measured at the surface in a Southern Hemisphere cyclone was 905 mb at North Rankin A gas platform during Cyclone Orson on 22-23 April 1989. Orson had 160 maximum sustained winds at the time, making it a Category 5 storm.


Figure 1. Eye of Tropical Cyclone Monica at 0430 GMT April 24 2006. Image credit: NASA.

Hardest hit country in 2006: the Philippines
The 2006 typhoon season saw an unprecedented five major (Category 3 or higher) typhoons make landfall in the Philippines, plus one Category 2 storm. Officially, 2049 people are listed as dead or missing and presumed dead from the 2006 typhoon season. Another 1122 died after monsoon rains triggered a landslide that buried the entire village of Guinsaugon in the central island of Leyte in February. In all, the six typhoons caused about $1.3 billion in damage--the most damaging typhoon season in Philippine history. For comparison, damage from all Philippine typhoons in the 20th century was $5.6 billion.


Figure 2. The fearsome sixsome of Philippine typhoons in 2006. From upper left to upper right: Super Typhoon Chanchu (May, Category 2 at landfall); Super Typhoon Xangsane (Category 4, September); Super Typhoon Cimaron (Category 5, October). From lower left to lower right: Typhoon Chebi (November, Category 3); Super Typhoon Durian (November, Category 4); Typhoon Utor (December, Category 3). A Super Typhoon is any storm with sustained 1-minute average winds of 150 mph or greater.

Deadliest tropical cyclone of 2006: Super Typhoon Durian
Super Typhoon Durian was the worst of the Philippine typhoons in 2006. Durian initially hit the island of Catanduanes as a Category 4 typhoon with sustained winds of 145 mph. Virtually every building on the island was damaged or destroyed, and Durian was judged the worst typhoon ever to hit the island. Next, Durian powered ashore into extreme southern Luzon Island in the province of Albay, still packing Category 4 winds of at least 135 mph. Durian passed directly over Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines and one of the country's most famous tourist attractions because of its near-perfect cone. Loose rock that the volcano had deposited in a July eruption rushed down the slopes in the form of deadly mudslides, thanks to Durian's torrential rains. Estimates from NASA's TRMM satellite of the rain amounts were 8-12 inches in a 24 hours period. The mudslides swept into villages and rivers at the foot of the Mayon Volcano. At least 1479 people died in the Philippines, mostly in mudslides near the Mayon volcano. This was the third deadliest typhoon in Philippine history, and the most damaging. Durian destroyed 211,000 homes, and damaged another 308,000. Durian weakened to a Category 1 typhoon after it emerged in the South China Sea, and passed along the coast of southern Vietnam. Durian killed 95 more people in Vietnam, destroying 50,000 homes and damaging 195,000. Damage was estimated at $456 million in Vietnam.

Most damaging tropical cyclone of 2006: Cyclone Larry
Australia got hit exceptionally hard by tropical cyclones in 2006, suffering hits by three major cyclones--Category 5 Monica in April, Category 3 Glenda in March, and the worst blow, Cyclone Larry on March 20, 2006. Cyclone Larry was a borderline Category 3/4 storm on the U.S. Saffir/Simpson scale, and struck Queensland with a fury unmatched in that region in perhaps a century. Damage from the storm was estimated at over $1 billion U.S. dollars.


Figure 3. Cyclone Larry. Image credit: NASA.

Longest duration intense tropical cyclone in history: Ioke
Hurricane Ioke (a.k.a. Super Typhoon Ioke after it crossed the Date Line) was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Central Pacific, and remained at Category 4 or 5 strength longer than any tropical cyclone on record. Ioke spent 36 (33 consecutive) 6-hourly reports at that strength. The previous records were held by 2004's Hurricane Ivan with 33 (32 consecutive) and 1997's Typhoon Paka with 27 (25 consecutive) 6-hourly reports. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for this one storm was about 81--higher than the ACE index of 79 accumulated by all the tropical cyclones in the Atlantic 2006 hurricane season.


Figure 4. Super Typhoon Ioke. Image credit: NASA.

Jeff Masters

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436. Skyepony (Mod)
7:20 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
NEW ORLEANS - All seven policemen charged with murder or attempted murder in a bridge shooting after Hurricane Katrina were free on bail Friday, and a judge said the six still on the New Orleans Police force can return to limited duty
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36173
435. Tazmanian
5:18 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
well we sould this keep a eye on it any way
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114074
434. Thunderstorm2
5:17 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
well anything can happen
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
432. Skyepony (Mod)
5:12 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
& low shear maybe coming for it..lol we need a 12 step program to help us blob watchers... Even when it's january we can't help but look.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36173
430. Thunderstorm2
5:06 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
That blob looks like it will hold up for a long time before going bye bye
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
429. Tazmanian2009
5:00 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
and there dos seen to be low wind shear round FL like 10 to 20kt of shear so i will give this olny 1% ch right now but this is a vary small ch but it could hold and it may not
427. Andrew92
4:56 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
It seems stationary though.
426. Thunderstorm2
4:55 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
a blob like that would have been ripped up by high shear by now so thats impressive.
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
425. Tazmanian
4:53 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
seen like the Blob is holding up good with all the high wind shear do you all think?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114074
424. Tazmanian
4:47 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Blob NE of the islands 1st Blob of the 2007 hurricane year

lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114074
423. Thunderstorm2
4:35 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
i got hammered hard last night
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
422. Thunderstorm2
4:33 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Hi everyone
Member Since: December 22, 2006 Posts: 129 Comments: 7608
421. Skyepony (Mod)
4:23 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Judge: Deal 'fair' in Katrina oil spill

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge on Thursday praised a proposed deal between the Murphy Oil Corp. and thousands of St. Bernard Parish homeowners to end a legal fight over an oil spill during Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon stopped short of final approval of the settlement but said he would rule shortly. He left both sides confident he would give his blessing to the $330-million deal that covers about 6,500 homes and businesses.

"The settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate," Fallon said, noting that only two residents in the class-action suit objected.

A settlement would put to rest a slew of lawsuits filed after a massive oil storage tank at Murphy's flooded refinery in Meraux was knocked off its foundation during the hurricane. The tank broke, unleashing about 25,000 barrels of oil on the surrounding neighborhoods, churches, canals and playgrounds.

Murphy concedes no wrongdoing in the settlement of one of the biggest urban oil spills in American history. Plaintiffs had alleged that the refiner failed to follow best practices by not filling the tank up with fluids so that it would be stable during storms.

The settlement identifies a range of compensation for property owners, depending on how far they were from the spill. If the deal is approved, Murphy would seek to buy about 570 homes on the four streets next to the refinery and tank farm.

"It's a fair settlement," said Daniel Bourgeois, a resident who lived in the worst-hit zone next to the refinery. He declined to say how much he would end up getting from insurance payments and a Murphy buyout. "All I can tell you is that I'm very well compensated."

About 250 homeowners opted out of the class-action suit, and their suits will go forward if the settlement is approved.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36173
420. Skyepony (Mod)
4:18 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
You can also put in city & state on the top left (here's Charleston), then go to the bottom right & it will list recently updated blogs from that area.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36173
418. oriondarkwood
3:32 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Does anyone remenber which wundergrounder's had the list of where everyone lived. I am moving to SC soon (Colubmia area) and I was curious if thier was any fellow wundergrounder's there
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 41
417. Skyepony (Mod)
3:27 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Checking out the local this morning, it's inline with Randrewl's map. Tuesday, looking much cooler but since we're 20 above average this cool down will bring us to near climo.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36173
416. Patrap
2:50 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Im bored too...7
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125715
414. ryang
2:13 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Hi.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12397
412. weatherboykris
2:11 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
it wasn't that funny
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
411. pottery
2:10 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
must be an " off " day.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
410. weatherboykris
2:05 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
looks colder for the next few weeks in the eastern U.S. finally
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
409. weatherboykris
2:04 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
funny
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
407. Patrap
1:51 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
Imfeeling a lil OFF..LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125715
406. weatherboykris
1:49 PM GMT on January 06, 2007
anyone on?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
405. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
6:12 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Tornado Watch 09

Effect until 12pm UTC (7am EDT)

Northeast North Carolina
Southeast Virginia

Tornadoes
===========

Hail
=========
TO 0.5 INCH IN DIAMETER.

Damaging Wind
============
gusts to 70 mph

Dangerous Lightning
===============
Likely within the watch area

Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43702
404. pottery
3:53 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Me too. Its been, er, different............
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
402. pottery
3:49 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
True.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
400. pottery
3:46 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Everything I learned from a rummy, I forgot the next morning. Why do you think that is ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
398. pottery
3:44 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Bad mixers tend to give me a headache anyway.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
396. pottery
3:42 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Good Lord , CB, they all gone away. We can conclude that they are not good mixers or something.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
393. pottery
3:39 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Is there no one left standing ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
392. pottery
3:36 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Good. Rum is a fair topic. We should put the suggestion to the floor. Anyone seconds rum ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
390. pottery
3:31 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Actually, we've done this topic to smithereens. Anyone have another ?????????
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
389. pottery
3:28 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Hi Orion. Sorry, I cant help. I'm in the West Indies........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
388. pottery
3:26 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
Further, I'm not sure that you should carry around the load that you seem to me to carry, that you want to give back that which you took away etc. you are not realy responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer all by yourself. I have sprayed loads of aerosols in my time. I dont feel I have to appologise for that. I feel I need to do some positive things though.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23105
387. oriondarkwood
3:25 AM GMT on January 06, 2007
I know this is off topic, but any wundergrounder's in the Colubmia, SC area. I just accpeted a job offer in the area (actually McBee)?
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 41

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.