||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (September 2011)|
|Category 5 typhoon (SSHS)|
Japanese camera crew in suburb of Nagoya in the wake of Typhoon Vera
|Formed||September 21, 1959|
|Dissipated||September 28, 1959|
|Highest winds||1-minute sustained:
305 km/h (190 mph)
|Lowest pressure||895 mbar (hPa); 26.43 inHg|
|Damage||$261 million (1959 USD)|
|Part of the 1959 Pacific typhoon season|
Typhoon Vera (also known as the Isewan Typhoon (伊勢湾台風 Ise-wan Taifū )) was the strongest typhoon to hit Japan on record. With winds of 257 km/h, Vera slammed into the southeastern coast of Japan in Wakayama Prefecture and then proceeded northeast across Honshū, causing widespread damage and flooding. 5,098 people were killed in Japan with an additional 38,921 people injured.
A low pressure area between Guam and Chuuk slowly organized into a tropical storm on September 21. Named Vera, it intensified into a typhoon the next day as it tracked northwestward. On the 23rd, Vera rapidly intensified, possibly reaching peak winds of 306 km/h winds. (The wind speed, which was measured by reconnaissance aircraft, are subject to dispute due to the unknown conversion factors. Regardless, the super typhoon was very intense with a pressure of 895 mb.)
|Nancy||T6118||2nd Muroto Typhoon|
|Cora||T6618||2nd Miyakojima Typhoon|
|Della||T6816||3rd Miyakojima Typhoon|
Unlike most super typhoons, which weaken substantially as they approach Japan due to cold sea surface temperatures and other external factors, Vera remained very strong as it moved north. Strong divergence aloft and continued warm water temperatures allowed Vera to remain the equivalent of a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. On September 26, Vera struck the coast of the Kansai region of Japan with winds of 257 km/h. The storm weakened over the archipelago while rapidly moving the northeast and re-emerged into the northern Pacific Ocean on the 27th as a minimal typhoon. It continued to the east and became extratropical on the 28th.
Vera was one of Japan's worst natural disasters. Heavy storm surge combined with flooding, as well as extreme winds, caused the deaths of 4,580 people with 658 missing. Vast areas of crops were destroyed, sea walls ruined, roads and railways greatly damaged, and overflown rivers contributed to a damage estimate of $261 million (1959 USD, $1.67 billion in 2005 USD). Over 32,000 people were injured, and 1,596,855 people were left homeless. The combination of the death toll and the great number of people left homeless contributed to large outbreaks of dysentery, gangrene, tetanus and other epidemics.
The destruction in Vera's wake was one of the larger factors leading to the construction of the Mount Fuji Radar System on the grounds that if the severity of the storm had been known in advance much more preparation could have been done. The weather radar on the summit of Mt. Fuji was completed 5 years later.
- Kenji Suzuki (March 21, 2006). "Typhoon Isewan and Its Lessons". Japan Water Forum.