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The biggest storms of the 2007 global hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 9:36 PM GMT on February 04, 2008

Last week, I took a look at the statistics for the global 2007 hurricane season. Today, let's look at the significant storms from each ocean basin.

The Atlantic's (and the world's) most intense tropical cyclone of 2007 was Hurricane Dean. Dean peaked at an intensity of 905 mb, with 175 mph winds, as it made landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on August 21, 2007. Dean killed a total of 32 people, 12 of them in Mexico. Remarkably, no deaths occurred in the Yucatan. Dean's Mexican deaths all occurred due to Dean's second Mexican landfall in the Gulf of Mexico, after it had crossed the Yucatan Peninsula.

Figure 1.The world's strongest tropical cyclone of 2007, Hurricane Dean, as seen from the Space Shuttle Endeavour, Saturday August 18, 2007 at 1pm EDT. Image credit: NASA.

The Atlantic's deadliest storm was Hurricane Noel, which killed up to 222 people. Noel dumped up to 15 inches on Haiti and 35 inches of rain on the Dominican Republic between October 28-31. The resulting floods killed 219 people in those countries. Flooding killed three other people in Cuba, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.

Also notable: Hurricane Felix killed 200 people in Nicaragua and Honduras after striking the northwest coast of Nicaragua as a Category 5 hurricane with 175 mph winds on September 4, 2007.

Figure 2. Moonrise over the eyewall of Hurricane Felix as it intensified into a Category 5 hurricane. Wunderblogger Randy Bynon has more great photos in his blog where he recounts his mission into Hurricane Felix.

North Indian Ocean
The world's two deadliest tropical cyclones of 2007--and its costliest--all occurred in the North Indian Ocean.

Deadliest storm: Cyclone Sidr was the worst weather disaster in the world in 2007. The Category 4 cyclone crashed ashore on the heavily populated coast of Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal on November 15, bringing winds of 150 mph and a storm surge of up to 5 m (16 ft) to the coast. At least 3447 people were killed. Damage was estimated at $450 million. Despite the high death toll, the evacuation and preparedness efforts were considered a success. Similar storms have exacted much higher death tolls in Bangladesh in the past.

Strongest storm: Tropical Cyclone Gonu, a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds, was the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea, and tied for the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the northern Indian Ocean (Wikipedia). Gonu caused about $4 billion in damage and over 50 deaths in Oman, where the cyclone was considered the nation's worst natural disaster of all time. Gonu dropped heavy rainfall near the eastern coastline, reaching up to 610 mm (24 inches) which caused flooding and heavy damage. In Iran, the cyclone caused 23 deaths and $215 million in damage.

Also notable: Cyclonic Storm Yemyin was 2007's second deadliest tropical cyclone. Yemyin hit the coast of Pakistan on June 22, killing as many as 933 people in Pakistan and 140 people in India. An additional 80 people died in Afghanistan due to flooding from Yemyin's remnants. Incredibly, the Indian Meteorological Service (IMD), who is responsible for tropical cyclone warnings in the North Indian Ocean, never classified Yemyin as anything stronger than a tropical depression. As I noted in a blog on the disaster, there was ample evidence that Yemyin was at least a strong tropical storm and perhaps a weak Category 1 hurricane. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center on Guam classified Yemyin as a strong tropical storm with 50 knot (60 mph) winds.

Figure 2. The North Indian Ocean's fearsome threesome of 2007. Left, Cyclone Gonu at Cat 5 intensify (160 mph winds), 0900Z Jun. 4, 2007. Middle, Cyclone Sidr at 0445Z Nov. 14, 2007 (Cat 4, 140 mph winds). Right, Cyclone Yemyin at 0610Z Jun. 25, 2007 (tropical storm, 40 mph winds). Image credit: NASA.

Eastern Pacific
Deadliest storm: Hurricane Henriette, a Category 1 hurricane that hit tip of the Baja California peninsula near San Jose del Cabo on September 4, killed seven people near Acapulco due to landslides; two fishermen also died off the Sonora coast. Henriette caused $275 million in damage to Mexico.

Strongest storm: Cat 4 Flossie (140 mph, 949 mb). Flossie did not hit land.

South Indian
Deadliest storm: Tropical Cyclone Indlala killed 80 people on Madagascar March 15 when it hit the island as a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds. Indlala had 145 mph winds at its peak intensity, shortly before landfall on Madagascar.

Strongest storm: Cat 4 Favio (145 mph). Favio hit Mozambique on February 22 as a Category 3 storm, killing 4 and injuring 70.

Also notable: Tropical Cyclone George killed three people when it made landfall March 8 in the Port Hedland region of Western Australia. George was a Category 3 storm with winds of 125 mph at peak intensity.

South Pacific
Deadliest storm: Tropical Cyclone Guba killed 150 people on Papau New Guinea when it brushed the island on November 20. Guba was a Category 1 storm with 85 mph winds at peak intensity.

Strongest storm: Cat 3 Daman (120 mph), Dec. 5-9.

Western Pacific
Deadliest storm: Tropical Storm 06W had top winds of only 40 mph, but the storm was a prodigious rain maker, dumping up to two feet of rain on Vietnam August 3-4. At least 60 people died in the resulting flooding.

Strongest storm: Category 5 Super Typhoon Sepat (160 mph). Sepat hit Taiwan as a Category 4 storm on August 18, then mainland China as a strong tropical storm on August 19. Sepat killed 39 people in China and did $658 million in damage.

Also notable: Typhoon Man-Yi, a Category 4 typhoon, killed nine people when it sank a ship near Guam on July 9. Man-yi made landfall on Okinawa with 150 mph winds, and later hit Japan as a Category 1 typhoon.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.