Super Typhoon Nock-Ten
struck the Philippines on Christmas Day as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds, making it the strongest landfalling typhoon on record anywhere in the Northwest Pacific so late in the year. Only two non-landfalling typhoons have been as strong as Nock-Ten so late in the year: Super Typhoon Hester, which peaked as a Category 5 storm with 185 mph winds on December 31, 1952, about 1,000 miles east of the Philippines, and Super Typhoon Susan, which peaked at 155 mph winds in a similar location on December 27, 1963. Nock-Ten peaked in intensity on Saturday morning, when the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) estimated that the storm had sustained 1-minute winds of 155 mph and the Japan Meteorological Agency
estimated a 915 mb central pressure.Figure 1.
MODIS satellite image of Nock-ten taken at approximately 06 UTC December 25, 2016. At the time, Nock-ten was a Category 4 super typhoon with 155 mph winds, approaching the Philippines. Image credit: NASA.
It is too early to know what sort of damage or casualties Nock-Ten may have inflicted, but the destruction is likely to be significant. Here are the details on the four landfalls Nock-Ten made, courtesy of Aon Benfield:
LANDFALL LOCATION: Bato, Catanduanes, Philippines
. LANDFALL TIMEFRAME: 06:30PM PHT local time, December 25 (10:30 UTC)
. LANDFALL INTENSITY: 250 kph (155 mph) - Category 4
LANDFALL LOCATION: Sagnay, Camarines Sur, Philippines.
LANDFALL TIMEFRAME: 09:30PM PHT local time, December 25 (13:30 UTC)
. LANDFALL INTENSITY: 240 kph (150 mph) - Category 4
LANDFALL LOCATION: San Andres, Quezon, Philippines.
LANDFALL TIMEFRAME: 02:00AM PHT local time, December 26 (18:00 UTC, December 25).
LANDFALL INTENSITY: 185 kph (115 mph) - Category 3
LANDFALL LOCATION: Marinduque, Philippines
. LANDFALL TIMEFRAME: 04:30AM PHT local time, December 26 (20:30 UTC, December 25).
LANDFALL INTENSITY: 185 kph (115 mph) - Category 3The strongest Christmas Day typhoon on record for the Philippines
Nock-Ten was not the first typhoon to hit the Philippines on Christmas Day, but it was the strongest. The other two typhoons to hit the islands on Christmas Day were Category 2 Typhoon Lee in 1981 and Category 2 Typhoon Jean in 1947. The worst tropical cyclone in world history to strike on Christmas Day was Category 3 Cyclone Tracy
, which devastated Darwin, Australia in 1974, killing 71 people and destroying 80% of the homes in the city.
According to NOAA’s historical hurricane archive
, only seven major typhoons of Category 3 or stronger intensity have hit the Philippines in December:
Category 4 Typhoon Harriet on December 31, 1959 (145 mph winds)
Category 3 Typhoon Opal on December 14, 1964 (115 mph winds)
Category 4 Typhoon Nanmadol on December 2, 2004 (135 mph winds)
Category 3 Typhoon Hagupit on December 6, 2014 (125 mph winds)
Category 5 Typhoon Gilda on December 18, 1959 (160 mph winds)
Category 4 Typhoon Manny on December 9, 1993 (130 mph winds)
Category 5 Typhoon Bopha on December 3, 2012 (170 mph winds)
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