Typhoon Nina (1975)

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Typhoon Nina (Bebeng)
Category 4 super typhoon (SSHWS)
Typhoon Nina on August 2
FormedJuly 30, 1975
DissipatedAugust 8, 1975
(Remnant low after August 6)
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 250 km/h (155 mph)
Lowest pressure900 hPa (mbar); 26.58 inHg
Fatalities≥229,000 total
(Third-deadliest tropical cyclone on record)
Damage$1.2 billion (1975 USD)
Areas affectedTaiwan, Eastern and Central China
Part of the 1975 Pacific typhoon season

Typhoon Nina, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Bebeng, was the third-deadliest tropical cyclone on record. At least 229,000 people died[1] after the typhoon triggered the Banqiao Dam collapse (in Zhumadian, Henan Province, China) and devastated areas downstream. The collapse of the dam due to heavy floods also caused a string of smaller dams to collapse, adding to the damage caused by the typhoon.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the storm's track and intensity, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale
Map key
  Tropical depression (≤38 mph, ≤62 km/h)
  Tropical storm (39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h)
  Category 1 (74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h)
  Category 2 (96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h)
  Category 3 (111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h)
  Category 4 (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h)
  Category 5 (≥157 mph, ≥252 km/h)
Storm type
▲ Extratropical cyclone / Remnant low / Tropical disturbance / Monsoon depression

A well defined trough line extending southeastward into the Philippine Sea spawned a disturbance on July 29. After its initial status as a disturbance, Tropical Depression 04W was designated and moved southwestward for 36 hours as the structure of the system began to organize. On July 31, the depression slowed and began to rapidly intensify, becoming a tropical storm and was named "Nina". It began to turn to the northwest afterward. A subtropical ridge prevented Nina from turning further north and it began to track west-northwest just before reaching typhoon intensity.

Nina underwent explosive development on the late hours of August 1. Aircraft reconnaissance reported a 65 hPa drop of pressure, increasing from a mere 65 kn (75 mph, 120 km/h) to 130 kt (150 mph, 240 km/h) the day after. During that period, it attained its peak intensity of 135 kn (155 mph, 250 km/h). The typhoon began to weaken as it approached Taiwan, making landfall near the coastal city of Hualien as a Category 3 storm with 100 kn (115 mph, 185 km/h) winds.[2]

The storm began to weaken as it went across the island's central mountain range, sparing the most populated areas from the eyewall. It entered the Formosa Straits as a weak typhoon, making another landfall near Jinjiang, Fujian.[3] After moving northwest and crossing Jiangxi, it turned north on the night of August 5 near Changde, Hunan. A day later, the storm moved over Xinyang, Henan, and was later blocked by a cold front near Zhumadian, Henan for three days.[4] The stationary thunderstorm system brought heavy rainfall, causing the infamous collapse of the Banqiao Dam. The storm moved southwest on August 8, and dissipated soon afterwards.[5]


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


Upon making landfall in Taiwan, the storm brought winds of 185 km/h (115 mph) to places near the storm's eye.[6] Wind gusts were also measured up to 222 km/h (138 mph).[7] Widespread heavy rainfall, peaking around 700 mm (28 in),[8] from the storm triggered deadly flooding and landslides which killed 29 people and injured 168 others. Reports from the island indicate that 3,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by the typhoon.[6] In the city of Hualien alone, four people were killed, 561 homes were destroyed, and 1,831 more homes were damaged.[9] Across the island, domestic flights, trains, and bus services were all suspended due to the storm; however, Taipei Songshan Airport remained open for international flights.[10]


Due to the interaction with the mountains of Taiwan, Nina weakened to a tropical storm before making landfall in China. The storm crossed the coastline with winds of 110 km/h (70 mph); however, little damage resulted near where the system struck land.[6] Further inland, the remnants of the storm produced widespread torrential rainfall, with more than 400 mm (16 in) falling across an area of 19,410 km2 (7,500 mi2). The heaviest rainfall was recorded along the Banqiao Dam where 1,631 mm (64.2 in) of rain fell, 830 mm (33 in) of which fell in a six-hour span.[11] These rains led to the collapse of the Banqiao Dam, which received 1-in-2000-year flood conditions. In all, 62 dams failed during the disaster, causing large temporary lakes and $1.2 billion (1975 USD, 6.06 billion USD in 2021) in damage and caused 240,000 deaths because of the Banqiao Dam failure.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.businessinsider.in/science/the-16-deadliest-storms-of-the-last-century/slidelist/60486966.cms
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2009-11-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) JTWC's ATCR on the 1975 typhoon season
  3. ^ http://www.hnqx.cn/xqhy/xq_view.jsp?id=6814 Pan Jiazheng, the progress of the 1975 flood Archived March 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Monsoons Over China by Ding Yihui, Springer 1994 edition (December 31, 1993), page 229.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2006-06-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c Joint Typhoon Warning Center (1976). "Super Typhoon Nina (04W) Preliminary Report" (PDF). Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 7, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  7. ^ Staff Writer (August 4, 1975). "Typhoon batters Taiwan". The Montreal Gazette. p. 2. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  8. ^ 台灣全區總雨量 (in Chinese). Chinese Weather Bureau. 1975. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  9. ^ Associated Press (August 4, 1975). "Typhoon Kills 12 In Taiwan". The Modesto Bee. p. 83. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  10. ^ United Press International (August 4, 1975). "Typhoon Nina Batters Taiwan With Rain, Wind". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 5. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  11. ^ 758大暴雨 (in Chinese). 华东师范大学. 2010. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  12. ^ Anderson-Berry 5-1 paper

External links[edit]