List of Pacific typhoons before 1900

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This article documents typhoon seasons that occurred during the early twentieth century and earlier. It is very incomplete; information on early typhoon seasons is patchy and relies heavily on individual observations of travellers and ships. There were no comprehensive records kept by a central organisation at this early time. Tropical cyclones tend to form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean between May and November.[1] These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

The scope of this article is limited to the Pacific Ocean, north of the equator and west of the international date line. Storms that form east of the date line and north of the equator are called hurricanes. Storms that form south of the equator are called cyclones.



Main article: Kamikaze (typhoon)

In Japanese legend the typhoon kamikaze (divine wind) destroyed the 2,200 ships of the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan in Hakata Bay which were attempting an invasion of Japan. There were 45,000 to 56,000 Mongol and Korean casualties of this event.[2]


Two typhoons were recorded during this period at Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands.[3]


Typhoon at Okinawa[edit]

This typhoon caused 30 deaths and destroyed thousands of houses. Over 100 fishing boats were lost and 2,200 people died in the subsequent famine.[3]


Nagasaki typhoon[edit]

September 17[edit]

A typhoon hit Nagasaki causing an estimated 14,429 deaths on the shore of the Ariake Sea. This was the highest death toll from any typhoon in Japanese history.[2] The German physician Philipp Franz von Siebold was present during this storm and succeeded in taking barometric pressure readings around Nagasaki at the risk of drowning. The storm was formerly named after him.[4]


Typhoon at Yaeyama[edit]

Typhoon recorded at Yaeyama in the Ryukyu Islands.[5]


Typhoon at Miyako[edit]

A typhoon hit Miyako in the Ryukyu Islands. Over 2,000 houses were destroyed.[5]


Typhoon at Miyako[edit]

Typhoon recorded at Miyako in the Ryukyu Islands. Miyako was also hit by a tidal wave and 3,000 died in the subsequent famine and disease.[5]


Cyclone of July, 1853[edit]

July 12 & 17[edit]

At noon on 12 July 1853, the barometer peaked at 30.02 inches of mercury (101.7 kPa) aboard store-ship USS Supply (1846), then lying at Napha, Lew Chew islands, 26°12′N 127°43′E / 26.200°N 127.717°E / 26.200; 127.717. Easterly winds prevailed over the next several days.

At 8 am on 17 July 1853, USS Caprice, a store-ship bound from Shanghai to Lew Chew, left the mouth of Suzhou Creek and stood down Yangtze River. Its barometer peaked at 29.71 inches of mercury (100.6 kPa) at noon. That day, USS Susquehanna (1850) and USS Mississippi (1841) steamed from Edo on a southwesterly course with the barometer at 30 inches of mercury (100 kPa), quite above the local seasonal mean, but a cyclone quickly approached. USS Saratoga (1842) left Edo for Shanghai at the same time. That night, the barometer reached 29.84 inches of mercury (101.0 kPa) aboard USS Supply on easterly winds.

July 18, 19 & 20[edit]

USS Caprice anchored that night with a heavy ground swell from southeast; at noon on 18 July 1853, its barometer stood at 29.67 inches of mercury (100.5 kPa). The barometer commenced falling on USS Mississippi and USS Susquehanna with an east-southeasterly wind. USS Supply reported a strong easterly wind and accelerating decline in barometric pressure. In the afternoon, USS Caprice worked from the Yangtze River with a southeasterly wind; at midnight, its crew recorded a barometric pressure of 29.62 inches of mercury (100.3 kPa), a force-2 wind, and a heavy swell from the southeast.

On 19 July 1853, USS Mississippi and USS Susquehanna, then approximately 550 miles (890 km) from the track of the cyclone, experienced a heavy swell from the southeast quarter at 31°14′N 135°03′E / 31.233°N 135.050°E / 31.233; 135.050. USS Mississippi then lay 24 hours with head to southeast. The gale meanwhile blew at USS Supply from the northeast with increasing violence.

On the morning of 20 July 1853, USS Caprice experienced pleasant weather and a good breeze veering from east-southeasterly to northeasterly-by-easterly and gradually increasing in strength from 3 to 4 with "very heavy swell" from southeast to east-southeast; at noon, the ship reached 31°33′N 123°18′E / 31.550°N 123.300°E / 31.550; 123.300 in 18 fathoms (108 ft; 33 m) of water. The cyclonic wind meanwhile veered to the east aboard USS Mississippi and USS Susquehanna and increased in force with "very heavy sea." At the USS Supply, the gale continued to blow from the northeast with increasing violence. At 6 pm, the barometer on USS Mississippi and USS Susquehanna reached its minimum, 29.36 inches of mercury (99.4 kPa). The master of USS Mississippi placed her with her head to northeast, with no indications of a favorable change despite a very apparent rise of the barometer. At that same hour, USS Caprice reported a barometric pressure of 29.42 inches of mercury (99.6 kPa), took in its sail, and prepared for a gale, but the barometer then rose to 29.50 inches of mercury (99.9 kPa).

July 21 to July 23[edit]

At 3 am on 21 July 1853, the barometer subsided to 28.88 inches of mercury (97.8 kPa) aboard USS Supply, and the gale blew with its greatest force from the north. At 9 am, the barometer of USS Susquehanna stood at 29.36 inches of mercury (99.4 kPa) and thence continued to rise slowly as the strength of the gale abated. The day aboard USS Caprice commenced pleasantly with fresh breezes from northeast-by-east and a heavy sea from the east; by 10 am, the wind increased to a force-7 northeast-by-easterly gale with a barometric pressure of 29.40 inches of mercury (99.6 kPa). At noon, USS Caprice reached 29°30′N 124°42′E / 29.500°N 124.700°E / 29.500; 124.700. USS Saratoga on a northerly track also encountered heavy sea and strong winds, heaving at 29°01′N 129°37′E / 29.017°N 129.617°E / 29.017; 129.617. The barometer aboard USS Supply fell to 28.82 inches of mercury (97.6 kPa) at noon and slightly increased that evening. The British schoonerEament meanwhile voyaged through Taiwan Strait that afternoon from Hong Kong toward Wusong with moderate northerly breezes and fine weather. At 5 pm, USS Caprice recorded a northeasterly gale with its barometer at 29.35 inches of mercury (99.4 kPa), which dipped to 29.34 inches of mercury (99.4 kPa) at midnight.

On 22 July 1853, USS Caprice reported northeasterly gale and heavy sea from east and northeast; by 3 am, its barometer dropped to 29.27 inches of mercury (99.1 kPa), and the wind shifted to northeasterly-by-easterly at 5 am and increased, reaching force-9 at 9 am with barometer 29.27 inches of mercury (99.1 kPa), sea running from northeast, and rapid gale scud flying overhead. Aboard British schooner Eament, the day began with steady north-northwesterly light breeze and fine but cloudy weather; at 11 am, she deployed all studding sails and braced, reaching 25°30′N 120°46′E / 25.500°N 120.767°E / 25.500; 120.767 at noon with barometer of 29.40 inches of mercury (99.6 kPa), north-northwesterly breeze, and heavy sea from northeast. USS Caprice reached 28°46′N 124°49′E / 28.767°N 124.817°E / 28.767; 124.817 at noon, and experienced an east-northeasterly force-10 gale at 1 pm; by 3 pm, the barometer stood at 29.25 inches of mercury (99.1 kPa) with squalls and rain. At 3 pm on 22 July 1853, the barometer aboard USS Supply at Napha settled to 28.74 inches of mercury (97.3 kPa), its lowest, probably marking the nearest approach of the center of the cyclone. Even the loudest winds of this "gale...of much violence" accompanied scud cloud moving overhead remarkably slowly and scarcely stirred the upper layer of cloud. The center of the storm probably tracked 80 miles (130 km) south of Napha. At 7 pm, USS Caprice hove to east-by-north force-10 strong gale in high sea with rapid scud flying overhead. The barometer aboard USS Supply rose only to 28.83 inches of mercury (97.6 kPa) by midnight with improving weather. By midnight, British schooner Eament pitched very heavily in increasing gale, double reefed the foresail, and recorded barometer of 29.39 inches of mercury (99.5 kPa); she sailed off the north end of Taiwan, heading northeastward, approaching the center of the cyclone.

Throughout 23 July 1853, USS Caprice lay to a high and regular sea from east-northeast with rapid scuds flying. At 1 am, the north-northwest gale split inner jib of British schooner Eament; the course of the vessel fell from northeast to east-northeast, and gale increased. Barometer aboard USS Caprice stood at 3 am at 29.22 inches of mercury (99.0 kPa) and rose by 9 am to 29.25 inches of mercury (99.1 kPa) with a force-10 easterly gale. By 10 am, British schooner Eament bore 5 miles (8.0 km) south-southwest of Agincourt island. The sea hove to USS Saratoga near 30°N 124°E / 30°N 124°E / 30; 124. The wind at USS Supply veered through easterly. At noon, USS Caprice reached 28°30′N 124°26′E / 28.500°N 124.433°E / 28.500; 124.433, and British schooner Eament recorded barometer of 29.20 inches of mercury (98.9 kPa) on strong gale from north-northeast. At 3 pm, barometer aboard USS Caprice dipped again to 29.23 inches of mercury (99.0 kPa), and its crew at 5 pm recorded an easterly-half-southerly force-11 gale. At 4 pm, gale increased against British schooner Eament; her crew close reefed her foresail and mainsail, and the aneroid barometer fell rapidly. At 9 pm, the ship experienced an east-by-south gale, barometer of 29.23 inches of mercury (99.0 kPa) and spoon drift flying overhead. At midnight, British schooner Eament pitched heavily between Taiwan and Madjico-sima island group; her barometer read 28.50 inches of mercury (96.5 kPa) in strong gale and heavy rain.

July 24 & 25[edit]

On 24 July 1853, USS Caprice lay in a force-10 east-by-south gale with high scud flying westward with great rapidity. At 1 am, wind at British schooner Eament blew a north-northeasterly hurricane with very high sea. At 3 am, USS Caprice measured a barometric pressure of 29.22 inches of mercury (99.0 kPa); at 7 am, it dipped to 29.20 inches of mercury (98.9 kPa) and at 9 am to 29.18 inches of mercury (98.8 kPa) with an east-southeasterly gale. At 11 am, wind split the foresail of British schooner Eament. The sea continued to heave USS Saratoga near 30°N 124°E / 30°N 124°E / 30; 124. USS Mississippi at 26°25′N 128°10′E / 26.417°N 128.167°E / 26.417; 128.167 near Ryūkyū Kingdom measured a pressure of 29.60 inches of mercury (100.2 kPa), and the cyclonic wind veered to east-southeasterly. At noon, the barometer aboard USS Saratoga reached its lowest, 29.60 inches of mercury (100.2 kPa), at 29°28′N 128°17′E / 29.467°N 128.283°E / 29.467; 128.283, with the east-northeastly wind, which later veered south-southeasterly. The wind at USS Supply veered to southeasterly, and the barometer rose rapidly. At noon, USS Caprice reached 28°26′N 124°47′E / 28.433°N 124.783°E / 28.433; 124.783, and British schooner Eament reported less violent gale but very unsettled weather. At 1 pm, USS Caprice reported a "southeast by 10 east" force-11 gale with heavy squalls of wind and rain and irregular seas; British schooner Eament reported west-northwest moderate wind, dirty-looking weather, high sea, and aneroid barometer at 28.30 inches of mercury (95.8 kPa) and still falling. Barometer aboard USS Caprice dropped to its minimum at 1 pm to 3 pm, 29.16 inches of mercury (98.7 kPa), with the center of the cyclone probably tracking 150 miles (240 km) away, having advanced just 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) in 70 hours, indicating an average velocity less than 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph). At 3 pm, USS Caprice recorded heavy cross sea and spoon-drift flying overhead; clouds in the overcast sky passed slowly westward. Meanwhile, British schooner Eament experienced calm with the vessel on the southern edge of the eye of the cyclone. At 3:30 pm, the wind increased southwesterly; Eament labored heavily. By 5 pm, the barometer aboard USS Caprice increased to 29.18 inches of mercury (98.8 kPa) under sluggish clouds; British schooner Eament recorded south-southwesterly gale, which by 5:30 pm blew a hurricane. At 6 pm aboard Eament with her scudding under bare poles, wind blew an increasing hurricane from south with aneroid barometer at 28.14 inches of mercury (95.3 kPa) as she ran behind the eye. At 7 pm, British schooner Eament recorded a south-southeasterly gale, and USS Caprice reported a less severe southeasterly gale and a barometric pressure of 29.24 inches of mercury (99.0 kPa). At 8 pm, the sea hove to British schooner Eament under bare poles with southeasterly gale. At 10 pm with les wind and heavy rain, crew of British schooner Eament set fore staysail and close reefed fore and mainsails. At 11 pm aboard USS Caprice, the barometer reached 29.27 inches of mercury (99.1 kPa) with occasionally breaking clouds passing to the northwest. At midnight, British schooner Eament recorded a strong gale.

At 3 am on 25 July, USS Caprice recorded a southeast-by southerly force-8 gale, barometer of 29.25 inches of mercury (99.1 kPa), and squally conditions with light rain; her barometer had varied only .11 inches of mercury (0.37 kPa) in the previous 72 hours. At 5 am, the wind blew at force-7 with a barometer 29.28 inches of mercury (99.2 kPa). At 9 am, the gale increased with rain and squalls, barometer at 29.32 inches of mercury (99.3 kPa), and moderating sea. At 11 am, the ship recorded a force-8 gale and barometer 29.34 inches of mercury (99.4 kPa). At noon, the chip reached 28°51′N 124°03′E / 28.850°N 124.050°E / 28.850; 124.050 with force-8 southeasterly gale. At 3 pm, the wind blew a south-southeasterly force-7 gale with cross sea and barometer 29.37 inches of mercury (99.5 kPa). At 9 pm, the wind dropped to a force-6 south-southeasterly gale, sky brightening to northward, and patches of blue sky to southeast and overhead.

July 26 to July 28[edit]

On 26 July 1853, USS Caprice recorded southeasterly-by-southerly force-6 strong wind, barometer at 29.50 inches of mercury (99.9 kPa), scud passing northward, and sea from south-southeast. At 9 am, a heavy cross sea rose against the vessel and the barometer reached 29.52 inches of mercury (100.0 kPa). At noon, she reached 29°31′N 125°16′E / 29.517°N 125.267°E / 29.517; 125.267 in 40 fathoms (240 ft; 73 m) of water. At Ryūkyū Kingdom, the wind veered to the southward, and the barometer rose to 29.74 inches of mercury (100.7 kPa). At USS Supply, the barometer rose to the local seasonal mean of 29.80 inches of mercury (100.9 kPa) as the wind veered to southerly. The barometers at Napha and aboard various vessels fell and rose not entirely gradually but with very moderate fluctuations of some hours continuance, common under other widespread cyclones. In the afternoon, wind and sea increased against USS Caprice with heavy squalls and scud cloud passing rapidly to the northwest. At 5 pm, the force-8 southeast-by-southerly gale continued with barometer at 29.49 inches of mercury (99.9 kPa); the day ended with moderating force-7 wind and barometer at 29.51 inches of mercury (99.9 kPa).

At 5 am on 27 July 1853, a force-7 southeasterly gale reached USS Caprice with increasing squalls. At 8 am, the ship recorded a force-8 southeast-half-east gale, low, thin scud passing northward, and increasing sea from south. At noon, the ship reached 28°55′N 124°16′E / 28.917°N 124.267°E / 28.917; 124.267 in heavy squalls and rain with nimbus clouds passing to north-northwest. the barometer aboard USS Mississippi and USS Susquehanna attained 29.80 inches of mercury (100.9 kPa), near the local seasonal mean. USS Saratoga off Saddle island near the mouth of the Yangtze River meanwhile experienced southeasterly winds, squalls, and continued "bad" weather. At 7 pm, USS Caprice recorded force-6 south-southeasterly wind and barometer of 29.55 inches of mercury (100.1 kPa).

At 1 am on 28 July 1853, USS Caprice recorded force-6 winds from south-southeast, barometer of 29.54 inches of mercury (100.0 kPa), and moderating sea; at 7 am, wind increased to southeast-by-east force-7 gale with barometer at 29.56 inches of mercury (100.1 kPa). The barometer aboard USS Mississippi and USS Susquehanna maintained 29.80 inches of mercury (100.9 kPa), near the local seasonal mean. USS Saratoga off Saddle island near the mouth of the Yangtze River meanwhile experienced southeasterly winds, squalls, and continued "bad" weather. These ship-based observations suggest a spatially enormous, slow moving tropical storm (or typhoon) passing well to the west of the Mississippi and Susquehanna. At noon, USS Caprice recorded steady southeast-by-east force-7 gale, high, irregular sea, barometer at 29.58 inches of mercury (100.2 kPa), and its position at 29°0′N 124°37′E / 29.000°N 124.617°E / 29.000; 124.617; force-6 southeast-by-south wind persisted through the afternoon with barometer 29.56 inches of mercury (100.1 kPa) to 29.58 inches of mercury (100.2 kPa), and the day ended with southeasterly strong wind and squalls.

July 29 to July 31[edit]

At 7 am on 29 July 1853, USS Caprice recorded force-7 southeasterly gale, barometer of 29.55 inches of mercury (100.1 kPa), low scuds flying northward, and high, irregular sea from south-southwest. At noon, the ship at 28°09′N 123°22′W / 28.150°N 123.367°W / 28.150; -123.367 in 45 fathoms (270 ft; 82 m) of water recorded barometer 29.56 inches of mercury (100.1 kPa) and force-7 southeast-by-south gale with scud flying northward. At 3 pm, she recorded south-southeast force-7 gale and barometer at 29.52 inches of mercury (100.0 kPa), and at 6 pm, she recorded squally force-9 strong gale with rain and heavy sea. At 11 pm, gale moderated to force-5 and barometer to 29.58 inches of mercury (100.2 kPa).

On 30 July 1853, USS Caprice recorded breaking clouds, clear skies to its east and southeast, strong south-southeasterly to southeasterly strong breezes, and stratocumulus and nimbus clouds passing to the north-northwest. At noon, she traversed in 43 fathoms (258 ft; 79 m) of water at 29°0′N 124°30′E / 29.000°N 124.500°E / 29.000; 124.500 through heavy sea from southeast and swell from south-southwest with barometer 29.55 inches of mercury (100.1 kPa) to 29.61 inches of mercury (100.3 kPa).

On 31 July 1853, USS Caprice recorded force-6 southerly strong breezes and heavy swell from south-southwest. At noon under double-reefed topsail and foresail, she reached 28°19′N 124°17′E / 28.317°N 124.283°E / 28.317; 124.283 with barometer ranging between 29.57 inches of mercury (100.1 kPa) and 29.63 inches of mercury (100.3 kPa).

August 1[edit]

On 1 August 1853, USS Caprice recorded force-5 fresh breezes moderating to force-4 and heavy swell from south-southwest. Barometer rose from 29.62 inches of mercury (100.3 kPa) at 1 am. At noon, she reached 28°35′N 125°09′E / 28.583°N 125.150°E / 28.583; 125.150 in 50 fathoms (300 ft; 91 m) of water. By midnight, her barometer reached 29.69 inches of mercury (100.5 kPa), nearly the same as the commencement of this very extended cyclone.


Typhoons recorded at Okinawa.[5][6]


April and May[edit]

On April 23 a tropical storm was reported southeast of Guam. It moved northwest and passed very close to Guam before moving to the north. It dissipated on April 28.[7] On May 18 a typhoon appeared to the east of Visayan Islands and moved inland on May 21. After crossing over into the South China Sea the storm moved northward. It passed through the Taiwan Strait between the 26 and 27 of May. On May 28 the storm was pushed out to sea by an advancing cold front and absorbed on May 29.[7][8]

June and July[edit]

On June 27 a typhoon was detected to the southeast of Manila. It passed to the south through central Luzon during the 28. It continued northwest and made landfall on Hainan on July 1. The storm later dissipated inland near the borders of Vietnam and China on July 3.[9] There is some indication of damage at Sambonya with a passing of a steamer noting all the buildings being nearly destroyed with few people seen.[10] On July 2 a typhoon was spotted to the south of Okinawa Islands. It moved north over the following days, reaching violent intensities, it brushed past the islands to the east on July 6 and 7. It continued north reaching Japan by July 8, briefly moved into The Sea of Japan, and dissipated in Korea on July 10. A minimal pressure of 956 millibars was recorded at Oshima.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Padgett, Gary; John Wallace; Kevin Boyle; Simon Clarke (2003-08-17). "GARY PADGETT'S MONTHLY GLOBAL TROPICAL CYCLONE SUMMARY: May 2003". David Michael V. Padua. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  2. ^ a b Longshore, page 125
  3. ^ a b Kerr, page 241
  4. ^ Longshore, pages 404-405
  5. ^ a b c d Kerr, page 242
  6. ^ Redfield, pages 337-342
  7. ^ a b c R. García-Herrera; P. Ribera; E. Hernández; L. Gimeno (2010). The Selga Chronology Part I: 1348-1900. Typhoons in the Philippine Islands 1566-1900 (Report) (JGR - Atmospheres). Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  8. ^ National Climatic Data Center (2013). "1899 MISSING (1899144N15116) IBTrACS File". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  9. ^ National Climatic Data Center (2013). "1899 MISSING (1899180N16115) IBTrACS File". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "Arrival of a Japanese Steamer at Thursday Island". Queensland Times. 1899-07-13. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 


  • Allaby, Michael; Garratt, Richard; Hurricanes, Infobase Publishing, 2003 ISBN 0816047952.
  • Kerr, George, Okinawa: The History of an Island People, Tuttle Publishing, 2000 ISBN 0804820872.
  • Longshore, David Encyclopedia of Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones, page 125, Infobase Publishing, 2009 ISBN 1438118791.
  • Redfield, William C., 1856:Observations in Relation to Cyclones of the Western Pacific: Embraced in a Communication to Commodore Perry. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, Performed in the Years 1852, 1853, and 1854, under the Command of Commodore M. C. Perry, United States Navy, by Order of the Government of the United States. Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, USN, and Francis Lister Hawks, DD, LLD, Eds., Vol II, United States Senate Executive Document No. 79 (33rd Congress, 2nd Session), 333-359. [1] [2]