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]


On 17 July, ships near Okinawa reported falling pressure and increasing winds, a sign of an approaching storm. During the subsequent days, swells became stronger as the storm moved toward northeastern China. On 22 July, the barometer aboard USS Supply subsided to 28.74 inHg (973 mbar), and winds increased to force-10. The winds split the inner jib and the foresail of the British schooner Eament. The storm stalled off the east coast of China, and when the Eament encountered the eye, it reported a barometric pressure of 28.14 inHg (953 mbar). Turning back east, the storm moved through the Ryukyu Islands. The ship-based observations suggest a spatially enormous, slow moving tropical storm (or typhoon) in the East China Sea, and force-6 winds continued to be reported through 31 July.


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]