2016 West Pacific Tropical Season Recap

The 2016 West Pacific tropical season was near normal with 24 named storms, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). A total of 13 storms reached typhoon status and 6 became super typhoons. This fell short of the annual average of 16.5 storms reaching at least typhoon status.

Typhoon Nepartak became the first named storm of the year on July 3, breaking a 199-day streak of no named storms across the basin.This tied the 1997-1998 interval for the longest number of days to pass without a named storm. Nepartak was classified as a super typhoon on July 6 and maintained one-minute sustained winds of 152kts (175mph) for 18 hours while tracking northwest toward Taiwan.The storm weakened to 130kts (150mph) before making landfall over Taiwan on July 8 (Taiwan local time). Continued weakening occurred as Nepartak tracked across mountainous terrain, and the storm made its final landfall over China on July 9 as a tropical storm.

Super Typhoon Nepartak Radar Taiwan
Super Typhoon Nepartak’s heavy rainbands approach Taiwan

Other significant storms to impact Taiwan in 2016:

  • Super Typhoon Meranti made a nearly direct hit to Taiwan on September 14. The extended time over water promoted further intensification and a peak intensity of 165kts (190mph) over the Luzon Strait.
  • Typhoon Megi intensified over the Philippine Sea and made landfall over northeastern Taiwan on Tuesday, September 27 with maximum sustained winds near 115kts (132mph).
NOAA Satellite Super Typhoon Meranti Taiwan
Eye of Super Typhoon Meranti nearing the southern tip of Taiwan

The northern South China Sea was also an active area in 2016. Marine assets offshore Hong Kong took direct hits from two typhoons, Nida and Haima, and Typhoon Sarika passed just to their south. Here are a few details on these storms:

  • Typhoon Nida developed east of the Philippines and reached typhoon status north of Luzon. Nida intensified to 80kts (92mph) before making landfall east of Hong Kong in Dapeng Peninsula on August 2. Storm photos can be found here.
  • Typhoon Sarika began as a tropical wave southeast of the Philippines. Sarika reached its peak intensity of 115kts (132mph) before making its first landfall in Luzon. The cyclone moved quickly across the Philippines and the South China Sea, and made a second landfall across Hainan Island. The storm continued to weaken as it made its third and final landfall near the Vietnam/China border.
  • Super Typhoon Haima caused mass destruction across the Philippines just days after Sarika. Photos and video footage from the devastating storm can be viewed here. Haima ranked as the third strongest typhoon of the season with maximum sustained winds of 145 kts (167mph). The storm weakened to 122kts (140mph) before making landfall over Luzon on October 19.

UW-Madison CIMSS Twitter Typhoon Haima

While around half of 2016 West Pacific typhoons followed a general East to West track, the other half were able to find a weakness in the steering ridge and curve northward. Mainland Japan would be directly impacted by four of these typhoons (Nepartak, Mindulle, Lionrock, and Malakas); however, the majority of these weakened significantly before making landfall. Typhoon Lionrock was the most unique system of the season given its length of life and erratic track.

Track map of Typhoon Lionrock. Points represent the storm’s location at 6-hour intervals. Color scale based on Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Tracking data provided by NOAA.

Of the main cyclones to impact the mid-latitudes, Typhoon Chaba tracked the closest to offshore interests in the Korea Strait and Sea of Japan. Chaba reached super typhoon intensity upon entering the East China Sea on October 3 and then gradually weakened as it moved south of Busan, South Korea. Chaba moved across northern Japan as an extratropical cyclone.

Just as the season’s first named storm became a super typhoon, the season’s final named storm also became a super typhoon. Nock-ten developed near Yap Island on December 21st. Nock-ten would become the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded worldwide on Christmas Day. Nock-ten made landfall across the Philippines on the evening of Christmas Day before emerging across the South China Sea the next day. Nock-ten dissipated in the Northeast Monsoon on December 28th, bringing an end to the 2016 West Pacific tropical season.

WWT tracked all of these storms for stationary assets and marine transits across the West Pacific and Southeast Asia.

WWT West Pacific Tropical Summary
You can always check the latest forecast on the WWT mobile app.

About Wilkens Weather Tropical Weather Guidance

Wilkens Weather provides a variety of tropical products to monitor potential development, forecast tracks, and anticipated intensities of tropical systems in this region. Tropical service options include tropical cyclone formation alerts (TCFAs) and tropical cyclone bulletins. Once tropical cyclone bulletins commence, clients are provided a wealth of resources to review the storm data and potential impacts on their site-specific locations. The interactive tropical tools on our website and Mobile App provide clients with the flexibility to focus on the needs of their operation.

Site-specific storm bulletins with alert areas are also available and may be customized to the needs of a current project or operation. 


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