1881 Haiphong typhoon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1881 Haiphong typhoon
1881 Pacific typhoon 14 track.png
Track of the 1881 Haiphong typhoon
FormedSeptember 27, 1881
DissipatedOctober 8, 1881
Lowest pressure957 hPa (mbar); 28.26 inHg
(Second-deadliest tropical cyclone on record)
Areas affectedHaiphong, Northern Vietnam
Luzon, Captaincy General of the Philippines (now Philippines)
Part of the 1881 Pacific typhoon season

The 1881 Haiphong typhoon was a typhoon that struck Haiphong, in Dai Nam (now Vietnam), and the northern part of the Captaincy General of the Philippines (now the Philippines)[1] on October 8, 1881.[2]

Gulf of Tonkin and Haiphong[edit]

The Gulf of Tonkin is one of the most frequently used paths for Pacific typhoons to strike the Asian Mainland.[3] In 1881 Haiphong Typhoon traveled this route after it originated near the Spanish East Indies.[3]

The city of Haiphong lies about 10 miles from the coast of the Gulf of Tonkin[2] and also on the Red River in a low elevation area (delta),[4] connected to an access channel. By the time the typhoon landed in 1881, the town was still a young port established by the French in 1874.[2]

Meteorological history[edit]

While the storm's category and strength is uncertain (like many disasters prior to the 20th century),[2] records show that the storm developed near the Philippine in late September and by the time it hit Luzon (Philippine island) on September 30, it was already strong enough to cause casualties and disrupt society. Once it was in the South China Sea, its power increased again as it entered into the Gulf of Tonkin, avoiding anymore land before it hit the gulf's coast.[4]


Deadliest Tropical Cyclones
Rank Name/Year Region Fatalities
1 Bhola 1970 Bangladesh 500,000
2 India 1839 India 300,000
Haiphong 1881 Vietnam 300,000
4 Nina 1975 China 229,000
5 Bangladesh 1991 Bangladesh 138,866
6 Nargis 2008 Myanmar 138,373
Sources: NOAA, MDR

About 300,000 people were killed in and around Haiphong by the typhoon alone[5] (casualties likely went up even in the storm's passing due to disease and starvation[2]), and estimated 10,000–20,000 deaths in the modern territory of the Philippines, making it the deadliest Philippine typhoon ever recorded. It was three times the casualty count of Typhoon Haiyan, the deadliest Philippine typhoon in modern meteorological records, and is the third deadliest tropical cyclone in history of the world.[3]

Haiphong, being a low-lying port town, was devastated both physically and economically. Its geography only made the damage escalate. With the high waves and winds, rice fields were flooded, buildings were decimated (and as a result, people either were drowned or left stranded), trees were ripped up, etc. By the time the typhoon passed, most of the town was wiped out.[4] Then, due to the inability to operate as a port town, Haiphong's economy also took impact.[2]


The typhoon of 1881 is not a common occurrence because its path around Hainan is what made it so strong by the time it hit Haiphong. This has not happened since 1881, but analyses predict that it will happen again. The Vietnamese government has also taken action in case of another severe typhoon hitting the area. Haiphong now has a flood defense system including dykes/levees (though not all of them are firm), a flood warning service provided by Vietnam's Meteorological Service, and evacuation plans. However, Haiphong still serves as a port (and a major one today), so any large storms will harm the economy.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Philippine Storm Surge History". Archived from the original on 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Haiphong cyclone | tropical cyclone". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  3. ^ a b c HurricaneScience.org. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  4. ^ a b c d Terry, James P.; Winspear, Nigel; Cuong, Tran Quoc (2012-03-01). "The 'terrific Tongking typhoon' of October 1881 - implications for the Red River Delta (northern Vietnam) in modern times". Weather. 67 (3): 72–75. Bibcode:2012Wthr...67...72T. doi:10.1002/wea.882. ISSN 0043-1656.
  5. ^ [1]