Typhoon Nina (1987)

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This article is about the Pacific typhoon of 1987; for other storms of the same name, see Tropical Storm Nina.
Super Typhoon Nina (Sisang)
Typhoon (JMA scale)
Category 5 (Saffir–Simpson scale)
Typhoon Nina 25 nov 1987 0702Z.jpg
Super Typhoon Nina approaching landfall, at peak intensity
Formed November 16, 1987
Dissipated November 30, 1987
Highest winds 10-minute sustained: 165 km/h (105 mph)
1-minute sustained: 270 km/h (165 mph)
Lowest pressure 930 mbar (hPa); 27.46 inHg
Fatalities 692-1,036 direct
Damage $40 million (1987 USD)
Areas affected Micronesia, Philippines, China
Part of the 1987 Pacific typhoon season

Super Typhoon Nina, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Sisang, was the fourth most intense typhoon of the 1987 Pacific typhoon season and was also the deadliest and the most destructive typhoon of that season. Nina was the worst typhoon to strike the Philippines in 17 years, since Patsy in 1970.

Meteorological history[edit]

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

An area of convection developed in mid-November near the International Date Line. On November 15, Dvorak intensity estimates supported an intensity of 30 mph (48 km/h). Over the next two days, convection waxed and waned, but on November 17, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) started tracking the system. At this time, the system developed deep convection as well as good outflow. Following a significant increase in organization, a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert (TCFA) was issued by the JTWC at 0100 UTC on November 19.[1] Five hours later, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) started monitoring the system.[2][nb 1] Continuing to rapidly become better organize while moving west-northwest, the JTWC classified the cyclone as a tropical depression at midday.[1] On the evening of November 19, both the JTWC and the JMA upgraded the system into Tropical Storm Nina, shortly after developing banding features.[4][nb 2]

Initially forecast by the JTWC to move slowly, instead, Nina accelerated while gradually intensifying. At 1600 UTC on November 20, Tropical Storm Nina passed 75 km (45 mi) south of Meon Island in the Truk Atoll.[1] Two hours later, the JMA upgraded Nina to a severe tropical storm.[2] After moving away from the island on the morning of November 21, Nina’s intensification rate and forward motion slowed. Nevertheless, the JTWC upgraded Nina to a typhoon at 1200 UTC,[1] with the JMA following suit early on November 22.[2] Shortly thereafter, Nina made its closest approach to Ulithi, passing 110 km (68 mi) to the north. At 1600 UTC, Nina tracked about 175 km (110 mi) north of Yap.[1]

Nina at peak intensity while approaching landfall in the Philippines.

Typhoon Nina accelerated slightly as it traversed the open waters of the Philippine Sea. The storm continued to slowly deepen, though early on November 23, the system leveled off in intensity. However, midday on November 24, Nina entered a phase of explosive intensification , at a rate of 1.33 mbar (0.039 inHg) an hour.[1] Despite this, the JMA only increased the intensity slightly to 105 mph (170 km/h), making it a very strong typhoon on the JMA scale.[2] After developing a well-defined eye, the JTWC reported that Nina attained its peak intensity of 165 mph (265 km/h), making it a low-end Category 5 system on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. At 1500 UTC on November 25, Nina moved ashore along the southern tip of Luzon at peak intensity.[1]

Despite interacting with land, little change in strength occurred until 0000 UTC on November 26, when the JMA lowered the intensity of the storm to 90 mph (145 km/h).[2] After traversing Luzon and Mindoro , the JTWC reduced the wind speed of the typhoon to 110 mph (175 km/h), equivalent to a high-end Category 2 hurricane. Although no eye was visible on satellite imagery, radar imagery indicted such eye albeit cloud-filed; henceforth, the JTWC increased the intensity of Nina to 115 mph (185 km/h), equivalent to a weak Category 3 hurricane.[1] According to the JMA, however, Nina never re-intensified.[2] By 0000 UTC on November 27, the low and mid level circulations began to decouple, deeply frustrating many forecasters at the JTWC. During this time, the cyclone posed a serious threat to Southern China and Hong Kong. Instead, Nina veered northward while gradually weakening;[1] by midday on November 27, the JMA had reduced the intensity of Nina to 80 mph (130 km/h).[2] Early on November 28, an eye once again became visible on satellite imagery. However, no re-intensification occurred. By the afternoon, increased wind shear take toll on the cyclone, causing Nina to become less organized due to deep convection being sheared off to the east-northeast. Thus, the JTWC expected Nina to move into the Luzon Straits and rapidly transitioned into an extratropical cyclone. After meandering within the South China Sea, Nina turned south, before dissipating on November 29,[1] though the JMA continued to monitor its remnants until 0000 UTC on November 30.[2]


Nina is responsible for killing 692 - 1036 (?) people and left $40 million (1987 USD) in damage from its strong winds and heavy rains making it the deadliest typhoon of the 1987 Pacific typhoon season.

Federated States of Micronesia[edit]

After passing near Truk, which has a population of 42,000, Typhoon Nina brought heavy damage to the area. In the capital of Meon, 85% of homes and 50% of government buildings were damaged.[6] There, communication lines were downed.[7] Hundreds of people were evacuated while the typhoon also inflicted severe crop damage.[8] Throughout the atoll, four lives were lost,[7] including a woman and a 14-year-old boy were killed by a falling breadfruit tree and an 11-year-old girl died after her leg was struck by a piece of flying metal.[8] One person was reported missing. Over 1,000 people were rendered homeless[9] while roughly 1,000 homes were damaged.[10] Damaged from the storm ranged from $30-40 million (1987 USD) and 39 were wounded.[11]


Prior to landfall, most of Luzon was placed under a typhoon alert.[12]

Fourteen fishing villages along the Philippine coast were completely submerged by Nina's storm surge, and 35,000 homes and buildings were destroyed. Between 540-687 people were killed and between 80,000 and 100,000 people were left homeless. The damage in the Philippines was at $26 million (1987 USD). Nine countries and several foreign Red Cross organizations responded to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Nina.[1] President Corazon Aquino declared four regions in Luzon are under State of calamity after the onslaught of a supertyphoon. This led PAGASA to retire the name Sisang on the list of tropical cyclones in the country; it was replaced by Sendang in 1991.

People's Republic of China[edit]


While no damage was reported, Nina did impact the south China coastal waters.

Hong Kong[edit]

A very intense surge of winter monsoon reached the south China coast on the morning of 28 November and Nina was about 290 km south-southwest of Hong Kong that afternoon. The monsoon enhanced by Nina caused significant temperature drops and gale force winds over the coastal waters.[13] The temperature at Royal Observatory Hong Kong dropped from 25.5C to 9.9C in 24 hours[14] and an hourly mean wind speed of 85 km/h was recorded at Waglan Island, the highest ever recorded during winter monsoon.[15] This surge of the winter monsoon injected large amounts of cold air into the circulation of Nina which then weakened rapidly and dissipated over open waters soon afterwards.[13] Royal Observatory claimed that Nina was the strongest typhoon to affect South China Sea in 1987[16] but they did not issue a tropical cyclone signal.


On the other side of the Pearl River, Macau hoisted a tropical cyclone signal on November 27, the second latest in their history.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Japan Meteorological Agency is the official Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the western Pacific Ocean.[3]
  2. ^ Wind estimates from the JMA and most other basins throughout the world are sustained over 10 minutes, while estimates from the United States-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center are sustained over 1 minute. 10 minute winds are about 1.14 times the amount of 1 minute winds.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Joint Typhoon Warning Center; Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center (1988). Annual Tropical Cyclone Report: 1987 (Report). United States Navy, United States Air Force. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Japan Meteorological Agency (October 10, 1992). RSMC Best Track Data – 1980–1989 (.TXT) (Report). Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Annual Report on Activities of the RSMC Tokyo – Typhoon Center 2000" (PDF). Japan Meteorological Agency. February 2001. p. 3. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ Kenneth R. Knapp; Michael C. Kruk; David H. Levinson; Howard J. Diamond; Charles J. Neumann (2010). 1987 NINA. The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS): Unifying tropical cyclone best track data (Report) (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society). Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ Christopher W Landsea; Hurricane Research Division (April 26, 2004). "Subject: D4) What does "maximum sustained wind" mean? How does it relate to gusts in tropical cyclones?". Frequently Asked Questions:. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Typhoon leaves up to 8 dead near Guam". United Press International. November 21, 1987. 
  7. ^ a b "Storm Knocks Out Island's Services; Deaths Reported". Associated Press. November 21, 1987. 
  8. ^ a b "Typhoon Nina bound for central Philippines". United Press International. November 23, 1987. 
  9. ^ "Deadly Typhoon Heads For Philippines". United Press International. November 23, 1987. 
  10. ^ "Typhoon Nina heads toward Philippines". Associated Press. November 24, 1987. 
  11. ^ "Truk Storm Damage Estimated At $30-40 Million". Associated Press. November 24, 1987. 
  12. ^ "Typhoon Nina hits Philippines title". United Press International. November 25, 1987. 
  13. ^ a b http://www.hko.gov.hk/publica/tc/tc1987.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.hko.gov.hk/publica/reprint/r163.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.hko.gov.hk/activities/primary_sch/panel10.jpg
  16. ^ http://www.hko.gov.hk/publica/reprint/r164.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.smg.gov.mo/ccaa/typhoon/e_tyhistorical.htm

External links[edit]