Tropical Cyclones
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Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summary December 2003
[Summaries and Track Data] [Prepared by Gary Padgett]


                              DECEMBER, 2003

  (For general comments about the nature of these summaries, as well as
  information on how to download the tabular cyclone track files, see
  the Author's Note at the end of this summary.)


                           DECEMBER HIGHLIGHTS

  --> Not one, but two, Atlantic tropical storms
  --> North Indian cyclone destructive to India
  --> Long-lived Southwest Indian cyclone affects Madagascar
  --> Northern Australia experiences hurricane strike
  --> Strong tropical storm brushes Mauritius


              ***** Feature of the Month for December *****

                      for the SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN

  A. Introduction

     This month's feature is the second of three highlighting tropical
  cyclone climatological data for the Southern Hemisphere.  The source
  for the data was a set of tropical cyclone tracks sent to me by Mr.
  Charles Neumann.    These had been prepared in association with a
  hurricane risk analysis (HURISK) study he was performing for the U. S.
  Navy.  Earlier studies had been accomplished for the Atlantic and North
  Pacific basins.  The tracks and intensities were based upon available
  data sets for the various Southern Hemisphere basins from the regional
  warning centers, and from 1980 onward, JTWC's Best Track files were
  utilized as an additional source of data.

     The data set begins with the 1960-61 Southern Hemisphere cyclone
  season and extends through 2001-2002, and I have included the entire
  period.  While the annual number of intense tropical cyclones
  (MSW < 100 kts) increases somewhat around 1970, the numbers of tropical
  storms and hurricanes during the pre-1970 period are not significantly
  different than for years following the advent of meteorological
  satellites.  No doubt in pre-satellite years many cyclones were not
  detected, especially in the vast island-free South Indian Ocean.  But
  in some areas, such as northern Australia, where most storms form near
  land and affect the coastline, and also in the island-rich South Pacific,
  it is likely that most significant tropical cyclones were at least
  detected (even if not tracked accurately) before operational satellite
  coverage became complete in the late 1960s.

  B. Definition of Parameters

     The following definitions apply:

     NS  - a tropical cyclone with a peak 1-min avg MSW >= 34 kts
     H   - a tropical cyclone with a peak 1-min avg MSW >= 64 kts
     IH  - a tropical cyclone with a peak 1-min avg MSW >= 96 kts
     NSD - four 6-hour periods in which a NS is operating
     HD  - four 6-hour periods in which a H is operating
     IHD - four 6-hour periods in which an IH is operating
     NTC - (((Total NS/Avg NS) + (Total H/Avg H) + (Total IH/Avg H) +
           (Total NSD/Avg NSD) + (Total HD/Avg HD) +
           (Total IHD/Avg IHD))/6) x 100%

     I have included another seasonal measure of the overall tropical
  cyclone level of activity which I developed--the Tropical Cyclone
  Index (TCI).  It is a summation of the MSW for each 6-hourly data
  point, divided by 100 (kts) with the resultant quotient then squared.
  Thus, it is identical to Dr. Bill Gray's Hurricane Destruction Potential
  (HDP) except that I begin the TCI with 34 kts, whereas the HDP
  calculation begins with 64 kts.  It also very similar to the index
  which NOAA uses in their Atlantic seasonal forecasts--a summation
  of the square of the velocity--except that I've scaled the TCI
  to a baseline of 100 kts in order to avoid huge numbers.

     My reason for including the TCI is that it is independent of the
  period of data covered.  The NTC is a good indicator of overall
  tropical cyclone activity, but it changes for all years whenever
  a new baseline period is utilized, whether this is done on a yearly
  basis or every 5 or 10 years.  Thus, for example, 1950's NTC for
  the 1950-1990 period is not the same as it was for the 1950-2000
  period, etc.   The TCI correlates very closely with the NTC, however.
  I calculated correlation coefficients for the NTC vs TCI data sets
  for several basins, and the two indices always correlated to around
  97-98%.  Thus, the TCI is an absolute index independent of any average
  values of the various parameters, yet it correlates well with the NTC
  as computed by Dr. Gray's rule.

  C. Southern Hemisphere Basins

     Dividing up the Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclogenetical
  regions is rather problematic.  The Northern Hemisphere basins are
  rather neatly divided geographically by landmasses and regions of
  very infrequent tropical cyclone formation, but storms form in
  the Southern Hemisphere in a rather continuous band from the
  Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa eastward across
  the South Indian Ocean, through the seas and gulfs north of
  Australia, into the Coral Sea and across the South Pacific to the
  region of French Polynesia well east of the International Dateline.
  Several different schemes for dividing the Southern Hemisphere into
  useful basins for statistical purposes have been proposed, but none
  are completely satisfactory in all respects.   For my purposes, I am
  going to present statistics for various longitudinal regions, some
  of which overlap.

     This monthly feature focuses on the South Pacific Ocean.  Last
  month's feature covered the entire Southern Hemisphere and several
  portions of the South Indian Ocean.  The final one, scheduled for
  the February summary, will focus on the Australian Region.  Due to
  time constraints, I did not calculate the full regime of parameters
  for the 2002-2003 season, but I did glean the numbers of NS, H and
  IH for the various areas, and these are summarized following each
  table.  The four regions covered this month are:

     (1) Southern Hemisphere east of longitude 135E
     (2) Entire South Pacific east of Australia
     (3) South Pacific east of longitude 160E (Fiji/New Zealand AOR)
     (4) Southeast Pacific (east of Dateline)

     Last month's feature included a table for the Southern Hemisphere
  west of longitude 135E.  Region (1) above is the counterpart of that:
  the extreme eastern Arafura Sea, the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the South
  Pacific to the western coast of South America, although essentially no
  tropical cyclone activity occurs east of longitude 120W.  Region (2)
  is the open South Pacific east of the Australian continent, while
  Region (3) is the area of warning responsibility of the TCWC at Nadi,
  Fiji, for cyclones north of latitude 25S, and the Wellington, New
  Zealand, office for storms south of 25S.   As is the case with longitude
  90E in the South Indian Ocean, there is no meteorological reason for
  the 160th meridan being a basin boundary--it is strictly arbitrary.
  I have included a separate table for the South Pacific east of the
  180th meridian (Region 4), even though it is also an arbitrary boundary.
  However, tropical cyclone activity east of the International Dateline is
  highly variable from year to year, especially east of 160W.  That region
  only rarely sees tropical cyclones in neutral ENSO or La Nina years, but
  can become quite active during El Nino events.

  D. Tables of Tropical Cyclone Data

     The tropical cyclone data in tabular format follows.  The various
  intensity categories are based on a MSW averaged over 1-minute.  This
  results in slightly higher numbers of cyclones than would be obtained
  utilizing a 10-minute averaging period, as all the Southern Hemisphere
  TCWCs do.   The year listed in the leftmost column is the year in
  which the season ends; e.g., 1961 represents the 12-month period from
  1 July 1960 through 30 June 1961.


  Year    NS     H    IH     NSD       HD      IHD     NTC    TCI
  1961     9     1     0    42.75     3.00      .00     35     32
  1962     7     1     0    26.50      .75      .00     24     19
  1963    18     2     0    62.00     6.00      .00     63     50
  1964    11     4     0    69.25    16.00      .00     76     75
  1965    10     3     0    33.50     3.25      .00     41     28
  1966     3     1     0    21.75     9.75      .00     28     36
  1967     8     2     1    39.75     6.00     1.75     62     43
  1968     6     3     0    27.25     2.50      .00     32     26
  1969    11     2     0    39.25     3.75      .00     42     36
  1970    13     3     0    40.00     4.00      .00     49     36
  1971     9     1     0    36.50     1.00      .00     31     30
  1972    16    11     5    82.00    30.75     9.00    243    135
  1973    14     4     1    41.75     8.00      .75     75     47
  1974    15     3     0    49.50     6.75      .00     59     45
  1975    13     4     2    62.00    17.25     4.75    129     86
  1976    12     5     0    50.25    14.50      .00     72     63
  1977    15     4     1    40.25     8.25      .75     77     40
  1978    11     4     0    57.00    14.00      .00     69     59
  1979    12     4     2    65.25    16.50     4.25    125     84
  1980    12     4     1    46.25     6.75      .50     71     50
  1981    10     4     0    31.00     6.25      .00     48     33
  1982    10     6     5    42.25    16.50     3.00    144     66
  1983    15    10     5    95.25    40.25     6.00    235    160
  1984    10     6     2    34.50     5.50     1.75     88     55
  1985    16     7     5    56.25    18.50     5.75    182     91
  1986    10     6     0    38.00    11.25      .00     64     46
  1987    16     8     2    63.25    13.50      .50    116     72
  1988     7     5     2    40.25    10.00     3.00     96     60
  1989    14     6     4    64.75    21.75     6.75    179    110
  1990     7     5     1    35.25    11.00     3.50     88     51
  1991     4     3     2    27.00    10.25     4.25     88     49
  1992    15     9     4    77.75    38.50    10.00    238    164
  1993    14     8     5    72.00    32.75     9.50    231    139
  1994     6     4     4    38.25    21.00     8.75    162     87
  1995     6     3     1    20.00     4.50     1.00     49     26
  1996     9     3     1    29.50     4.75     1.25     59     32
  1997    17     9     3    95.00    30.25     8.00    213    146
  1998    21    12     5   103.00    38.00    10.25    279    186
  1999    12     3     1    43.00    12.25     1.75     81     59
  2000     9     4     1    23.50     5.50      .50     57     27
  2001     8     2     0    19.75     5.25      .00     32     25
  2002     8     2     1    16.25     4.75     1.00     48     19

  Avg.   11.2   4.6   1.6   47.6     12.9      2.6

  2002-2003 Season - NS: 13     H: 7      IH: 6


  Year    NS     H    IH     NSD       HD      IHD     NTC    TCI
  1961     9     1     0    42.00     3.00      .00     38     32
  1962     6     1     0    24.25      .75      .00     23     17
  1963    17     2     0    60.75     6.00      .00     66     49
  1964    10     3     0    57.25    15.25      .00     69     65
  1965     9     3     0    25.00     3.25      .00     40     24
  1966     2     1     0    21.00     9.75      .00     27     36
  1967     7     2     1    34.75     6.00     1.75     63     41
  1968     5     3     0    25.25     2.50      .00     32     25
  1969    10     2     0    37.50     3.75      .00     43     34
  1970    13     3     0    39.75     4.00      .00     53     36
  1971     7     0     0    31.00      .00      .00     23     23
  1972    16    11     5    77.75    30.75     9.00    255    132
  1973    12     3     1    38.25     7.75      .75     72     44
  1974    15     3     0    47.00     6.75      .00     62     43
  1975    12     4     2    60.75    17.25     4.75    135     85
  1976    12     5     0    48.50    14.50      .00     76     62
  1977    14     3     0    35.25     6.00      .00     55     30
  1978    11     4     0    55.00    14.00      .00     72     58
  1979    11     3     2    56.50    15.75     4.25    122     76
  1980    10     4     1    40.25     6.75      .50     70     45
  1981    10     4     0    29.75     6.25      .00     51     32
  1982     7     5     4    38.00    15.00     2.75    128     60
  1983    15    10     5    95.25    40.25     6.00    248    160
  1984     9     4     1    29.50     3.00      .25     58     41
  1985    13     6     4    49.50    15.00     4.00    154     76
  1986    10     6     0    38.00    11.25      .00     68     46
  1987    13     7     2    55.50    13.25      .50    112     66
  1988     7     5     2    40.25    10.00     3.00    101     60
  1989    14     6     4    64.75    21.75     6.75    189    110
  1990     7     4     1    32.50    10.75     3.50     88     49
  1991     4     3     2    27.00    10.25     4.25     92     49
  1992    15     9     4    76.00    38.50    10.00    251    162
  1993    13     8     5    69.50    32.75     9.50    241    137
  1994     6     4     4    37.75    21.00     8.75    170     87
  1995     5     3     1    17.75     4.50     1.00     50     24
  1996     7     2     1    21.75     4.25     1.25     52     26
  1997    16     9     3    92.25    30.25     8.00    223    144
  1998    18    12     5    97.25    38.00    10.25    287    181
  1999    11     3     1    41.75    12.25     1.75     84     59
  2000     9     4     1    22.50     5.50      .50     60     26
  2001     5     2     0    16.25     5.25      .00     29     23
  2002     7     2     1    15.00     4.75     1.00     49     19

  Avg.   10.2   4.3   1.5   44.4     12.6      2.5

  2002-2003 Season - NS: 11     H: 7      IH: 6


  Year    NS     H    IH     NSD       HD      IHD     NTC    TCI
  1961     8     1     0    29.50     3.00      .00     41     24
  1962     6     1     0    22.50      .75      .00     30     16
  1963    14     2     0    50.25     5.25      .00     73     40
  1964     9     3     0    45.25    12.50      .00     78     52
  1965     7     3     0    17.50     3.25      .00     43     18
  1966     2     1     0    18.25     9.75      .00     36     33
  1967     5     1     0     7.75      .25      .00     19      7
  1968     5     3     0    20.00     2.50      .00     39     19
  1969     9     2     0    32.50     3.75      .00     51     31
  1970    11     2     0    30.00     2.75      .00     52     26
  1971     6     0     0    12.50      .00      .00     18      8
  1972    11     7     4    36.00    16.75     7.25    226     72
  1973    11     3     1    33.25     6.50      .75     86     38
  1974    12     2     0    26.25     1.50      .00     49     20
  1975    11     4     2    55.50    17.25     4.75    173     80
  1976     8     3     0    19.75     4.25      .00     48     21
  1977    10     3     0    27.75     6.00      .00     59     26
  1978     9     4     0    47.25    14.00      .00     87     53
  1979     8     3     1    32.50     6.00     2.25     92     37
  1980     9     2     0    25.00     1.00      .00     42     21
  1981     9     4     0    22.00     6.25      .00     59     25
  1982     6     5     3    23.25    12.00     2.50    134     42
  1983    13     9     4    73.00    30.50     3.75    252    118
  1984     5     1     0     9.75      .50      .00     20      8
  1985    10     5     3    34.75    12.25     3.50    158     58
  1986     8     4     0    25.75     7.00      .00     61     29
  1987    12     7     2    52.25    13.25      .50    141     64
  1988     6     3     2    28.00     9.25     3.00    113     50
  1989    13     5     3    52.50    15.75     2.75    173     79
  1990     6     2     1    17.00     7.75     3.50     90     34
  1991     2     1     1     7.25     3.75     2.25     53     18
  1992    13     9     4    61.75    31.75     9.00    296    132
  1993    11     7     4    45.00    23.25     7.25    243     98
  1994     5     4     3    20.50    10.50     4.00    137     42
  1995     4     2     0     8.75     1.00      .00     23      8
  1996     4     1     1    13.25     3.75     1.25     51     19
  1997    13     8     3    67.25    22.25     6.25    238    102
  1998    17    11     5    66.50    30.75     9.00    328    141
  1999    10     3     1    36.75    12.25     1.75    105     56
  2000     6     4     1    16.00     5.50      .50     67     22
  2001     5     2     0    16.25     5.25      .00     37     23
  2002     6     2     1    11.00     4.00     1.00     57     16

  Avg.    8.5   3.6   1.2   30.9      9.2      1.8

  2002-2003 Season - NS: 10     H: 7      IH: 6


  Year    NS     H    IH     NSD       HD      IHD     NTC    TCI
  1961     3     1     0    11.75     3.00      .00     51     14
  1962     3     0     0     6.75      .00      .00     20      4
  1963     8     1     0    21.75     4.25      .00     89     21
  1964     3     0     0     5.00      .00      .00     18      3
  1965     3     2     0     7.25     3.00      .00     55     11
  1966     1     1     0    13.50     8.75      .00     72     29
  1967     1     0     0      .25      .00      .00      4      0
  1968     1     1     0     4.25      .75      .00     23      5
  1969     4     1     0     7.50     1.00      .00     40      7
  1970     7     2     0    19.50     2.75      .00     86     20
  1971     0     0     0      .00      .00      .00      0      0
  1972     4     1     0     5.00      .25      .00     33      5
  1973     8     0     0    14.75      .00      .00     50     11
  1974     6     1     0     8.75      .50      .00     47      6
  1975     5     2     1    17.75     6.00     1.75    194     26
  1976     3     1     0     7.00     1.75      .00     39      8
  1977     7     1     0    12.50     1.50      .00     61     10
  1978     5     1     0    29.50     9.25      .00    111     34
  1979     3     1     1     8.00     1.00      .50     98      8
  1980     6     0     0     8.50      .00      .00     34      6
  1981     6     1     0     9.75     1.00      .00     51      8
  1982     1     1     1     3.75     2.75      .50     92      8
  1983    10     7     3    48.50    22.75     2.50    497     84
  1984     1     0     0     2.00      .00      .00      6      1
  1985     7     4     0    16.00     3.75      .00    107     19
  1986     3     3     0    13.75     5.50      .00     86     18
  1987     8     4     1    31.50     8.75      .25    207     42
  1988     1     0     0     1.75      .00      .00      6      1
  1989     6     2     0    20.50     5.50      .00     96     26
  1990     3     2     1    13.50     7.75     3.50    249     30
  1991     1     1     1     2.75     1.50      .50     85      6
  1992     9     3     2    31.25    12.75     4.50    407     59
  1993     7     4     0    15.75     4.25      .00    109     20
  1994     1     1     0     1.00      .25      .00     16      1
  1995     2     1     0     3.50      .50      .00     25      3
  1996     2     0     0     3.00      .00      .00     11      2
  1997     7     3     1    28.50     4.75     1.00    196     32
  1998    11     7     2    36.00    14.75     4.00    455     69
  1999     4     1     0    12.00     3.50      .00     57     15
  2000     5     3     1     9.50     4.00      .50    142     15
  2001     3     1     0     7.00     1.50      .00     38      8
  2002     2     1     1     4.50     3.25     1.00    116     11

  Avg.    4.3   1.6   0.4   12.5      3.6      0.5

  2002-2003 Season - NS: 6      H: 3      IH: 3

  E. Monthly Tropical Cyclone Information

     I did not have the time to attempt to ferret out monthly information
  regarding tropical cyclone genesis.     Patrick Hoareau has already
  compiled much information on Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclones,
  including monthly tropical cyclone frequencies, and this can be accessed
  at the following link:>

  I would encourage those interested in detailed statistics of Southern
  Hemisphere tropical cyclones to visit the above website.  More infor-
  mation describing Patrick's work can be found in the monthly feature
  in the February, 2003, summary.

                            ACTIVITY BY BASINS

  ATLANTIC (ATL) - North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico

  Activity for December:  2 tropical storms

                        Sources of Information

     Most of the information presented below was obtained from the
  various tropical cyclone products issued by the Tropical Prediction
  Center/National Hurricane Center (TPC/NHC) in Miami, Florida:
  discussions, public advisories, forecast/advisories, tropical weather
  outlooks, special tropical disturbance statements, etc.    Some
  additional information may have been gleaned from the monthly
  summaries prepared by the hurricane specialists and available on
  TPC/NHC's website.     All references to sustained winds imply a
  1-minute averaging period unless otherwise noted.

                  Atlantic Tropical Activity for December

     Disturbed weather which had developed in the southwestern Caribbean
  Sea during the final days of November persisted into the first week of
  December.  The area began to show signs of organization on the 3rd, and
  early on the 4th was upgraded to Tropical Depression 20.  By late after-
  noon Tropical Storm Odette had been christened, becoming the first named
  Atlantic tropical cyclone to develop in December in 19 years.  The last
  year to see a December tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin was 1984,
  when Hurricane Lili evolved out of a subtropical storm in the central
  Atlantic and briefly threatened the Leeward Islands as it moved south-
  westward before dissipating.   Odette subsequently moved northeastward,
  crossing the island of Hispaniola before becoming extratropical on the

     At the same time a non-tropical LOW in the eastern Atlantic was slowly
  assuming subtropical characteristics.  This LOW was later determined to
  have developed into a subtropical storm on the 7th, and by the 9th had
  developed full tropical characteristics and was named Tropical Storm
  Peter.   Peter peaked near hurricane intensity later that day and then
  weakened quickly as it moved northward into a more hostile environment.
  The most significant thing about Peter was the fact that it developed
  at all.  Atlantic tropical cyclones in December are about as scarce as
  hens' teeth; for two to form in one month is extremely rare.  The
  last time on record that this happened was in 1887.   Also, the two
  December storms along with Tropical Storm Ana in April represent the
  first occasion since 1887 that three tropical storms or hurricanes have 
  formed outside the official 1 June-30 November tropical cyclone season.  
  The last time there were even two out-of-season storms was in 1953, when
  Tropical Storm Alice formed in the southwestern Caribbean in late May
  and an unnamed tropical storm was charted northeast of the Leeward
  Islands in early December.

     Finally, a gale center in the central Atlantic on 26 and 27 December
  looked for a time as if it might make an attempt to become Tropical
  Storm Rose, but it didn't get very far before it sheared off.  According
  to David Roth, OPC ceased to treat is as an occluded cyclone on the
  21st, so possibly the system had some very weak subtropical features.
  David indicated that there'd been one 35-kt ship report with several
  more of 30 kts.

     The official storm reports for Odette and Peter are already available
  online on TPC/NHC's website, so only brief summaries of the cyclones are
  included here.  Links to the official reports are included with each
  storm's summary.

                        TROPICAL STORM ODETTE
                            4 - 9 December

     Tropical Storm Odette was the first Atlantic named storm to form
  in the month of December since 1984, and was the first December storm
  on record to develop in the Caribbean Sea.  Odette formed in the
  southwestern Caribbean and moved generally in a northeastward direction,
  crossing the Dominican Republic early on 7 December.  After emerging
  into the Atlantic the tropical cyclone was soon overtaken by a cold
  front and lost its tropical characteristics.

     Press reports indicate that substantial damage was sustained by many
  farms, crops, electrical lines, roads and bridges.   About 35% of the
  banana crop was destroyed.  The dwellings of 859 families were damaged,
  of which 34 were completely destroyed.  Damage was also reported in the
  capital city of Santo Domingo.    An estimated 10,000 persons were
  adversely affected by Odette.  Eight deaths were directly attributed to
  the storm, and two additional persons died of heart attacks indirectly
  related to Odette.

     The official TPC/NHC report on Tropical Storm Odette, authored by
  James Franklin, can be accessed at the following link:>

  (This brief report written by Gary Padgett)

                        TROPICAL STORM PETER
                           2 - 11 December

     During early December a large extratropical LOW moved over the
  eastern North Atlantic Ocean near 20N, 37W.  This LOW gradually acquired
  persistent deep convection and was classified as Tropical Storm Peter
  on 9 December.  Movement had been biased toward the south towards warmer
  waters during the previous couple of days, which aided in development.
  The MSW soon reached 60 kts, and visible satellite images revealed a
  banding-type eye and several curved bands associated with Peter around
  midday on 9 December.  Based on that evidence, Peter possibly may have
  been a hurricane but only for a brief period.  Thereafter, the storm
  quickly deteriorated as it moved northward ahead of a frontal system,
  although it managed to keep its identity until the 11th when it was
  absorbed into the advancing front.  (It should be noted that in post-
  storm analysis it was decided not to upgrade Peter to hurricane status.)

     The official TPC/NHC storm report on Tropical Storm Peter, written
  by Lixion Avila, is available at the following link:>

  (This brief report written by Kevin Boyle)


  NORTHEAST PACIFIC (NEP) - North Pacific Ocean East of Longitude 180

  Activity for December:  No tropical cyclones

  NORTHWEST PACIFIC (NWP) - North Pacific Ocean West of Longitude 180

  Activity for December:  1 tropical depression **
                          1 tropical storm ++

  ** - classified as a tropical depression by JMA only

  ++ - classified as a tropical storm by JTWC only

                       Sources of Information

     Most of the information presented below is based upon tropical
  cyclone warnings and significant tropical weather outlooks issued
  by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the U. S. Air Force and
  Navy (JTWC), located at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.   In the companion
  tropical cyclone tracks file, I normally annotate track coordinates
  from some of the various Asian warning centers when their center
  positions differ from JTWC's by usually 40-50 nm or more.   All
  references to sustained winds imply a 1-minute averaging period
  unless otherwise noted.

     Michael V. Padua of Naga City in the Philippines, owner of the
  Typhoon 2000 website, normally sends me cyclone tracks based upon
  warnings issued by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the
  Philippines' Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services
  Administration (PAGASA).  A very special thanks to Michael for the
  assistance he so reliably provides.

     In the title line for each storm I have referenced all the cyclone
  names/numbers I have available:   JTWC's depression number, the 
  JMA-assigned name (if any), JMA's tropical storm numeric designator,
  and PAGASA's name for systems forming in or passing through their
  area of warning responsibility.

              Northwest Pacific Tropical Activity for December

     The month of December was fairly quiet in Western North Pacific
  waters.  One tropical system required warnings from JTWC and was
  upgraded to a minimal tropical storm by that agency, but was not named
  by JMA.  Apparently, JTWC was the only warning center to classify it as
  a tropical storm.  A report on Tropical Storm 27W (named Zigzag by
  PAGASA), written by Kevin Boyle follows--a special thanks to Kevin for
  writing the report.

     The only other system to be classified as a tropical depression during
  December was a weak LOW around mid-month in the South China Sea east of
  extreme southern Vietnam.  Apparently JMA was the only agency to refer
  to this disturbance as a depression.  The LOW remained quasi-stationary
  on 16-17 December and then weakened.  No track was included for this
  system in the December tropical cyclone tracks file.

                      UPDATE TO THE NOVEMBER SUMMARY

     After posting the November summary I discovered some information on
  the Relief Web's internet site regarding damage caused by Typhoon Lupit
  on some of the islands in the Federated States of Micronesia.  The
  storm passed fairly near some of the islands and atolls in Yap State,
  and huge waves and strong winds caused significant damage on three
  islands, although fortunately there was no loss of life reported.  The
  islands affected most severely were Ulithi Atoll, Woleai Atoll, and Fais
  Island.  On these islands sources of potable water were contaminated by
  salt water, and severe damage was sustained to most agricultural crops,
  with taro, breadfruit, banana and coconut being the most important.
  After the typhoon's passage the islands were in great need of drinking 
  water, food, and tools with which to repair buildings and for use in 
  planting new crops.

     More information can be found at the following link:>

                             TROPICAL STORM 
                           (TC-27W / ZIGZAG)
                            24 - 27 December

  Zigzag: PAGASA name, means to take a meandering path in abrupt
          side-to-side movements

  A. Storm Origins

     At 0600 UTC on 21 December an area of disturbed weather developed
  approximately 140 nm west-southwest of Chuuk Island.  Enhanced infrared
  satellite animations revealed cycling deep convection organising over a
  possible LLCC.   The first STWO issued by JTWC at this time assessed a
  fair development potential, but little development was noted and the
  LLCC remained rather difficult to follow over the next few days.  The
  potential for development was lowered to poor at 22/0600 UTC and remained
  so through the 23rd.   It was not raised to fair again until 24/0030
  UTC.  This was based on an increase in deep convection over a partially-
  exposed LLCC.  A TCFA was released soon after at 24/0230 UTC, followed
  by the first warning on Tropical Depression 27W at 24/0600 UTC.

     The partially-exposed LLCC was situated approximately 265 nm north-
  northwest of Yap at the time of the first warning with a mid-level ridge
  to the northeast of Tropical Depression 27W guiding the system west-
  northwestward at 11 kts.   At 25/0000 UTC the LLCC was fully-exposed and
  the nearest deep convection was located 67 nm to the southeast.  As the
  day progressed, however, the tropical depression got its act together
  as deep convection began to wrap into the LLCC, and the system
  accordingly began to intensify.  The MSW reached 35 kts, resulting in
  the upgrade to tropical storm status at 25/1200 UTC.  This was to be its
  peak intensity.  (JMA never upgraded this system to tropical storm
  status, hence, no name was assigned from the international list of

  B. Storm History

     By 0000 UTC 26 December, Tropical Storm 27W was moving slowly west-
  southwestward at 5 kts, some 445 nm east of Manila, Philippines.  The
  west-southwesterly motion was the result of interaction with the north-
  east monsoon, and surges in the monsoon flow were to influence the storm
  for the rest of its short existence.  The LLCC once again became exposed
  and deep convection became rather limited, resulting in a downgrade to
  tropical depression status at 26/1200 UTC.  However, JTWC upped the MSW
  back to 35 kts again six hours later.

     Tropical Storm 27W subsequently began to move a little more quickly
  towards the south-southwest and was located 145 nm north-northeast of
  Dapa, Philippines, at 0000 UTC on 27 December.    Visible satellite
  imagery revealed a partially-exposed LLCC with deep convection located
  mostly in the northwest quadrant.  Turning southward the system began
  to weaken: the LLCC was fully-exposed and deep convection began to
  diminish.  In a way, PAGASA's name for the system (Zigzag) was very apt
  for this tropical cyclone.  Tropical Storm 27W/Zigzag continued its
  suicide run into the central Philippines and was downgraded to a tropical
  depression at 27/1200 UTC.  It then turned southwestward, completing
  the last part of its zigzag path before dissipating over the central
  Philippines at 27/1800 UTC, which was the time of the final warning
  issued by JTWC.

  C. Damage and Casualties

     No reports of damage or casualties were received.   Tropical Storm
  27W/Zigzag made landfall in the central Philippines only a week after
  heavy rainfall and mudslides had affected the area, resulting in
  destruction of properties and several casualties.  Heavy rains from
  the cyclone only served to aggravate the problem.

  (Report written by Kevin Boyle)


  NORTH INDIAN OCEAN (NIO) - Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea

  Activity for December:  1 tropical cyclone of storm intensity

                        Sources of Information

     Most of the information presented below is based upon tropical
  cyclone warnings and significant tropical weather outlooks issued
  by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the U. S. Air Force and
  Navy (JTWC), located at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.   Occasionally some
  information may be gleaned from the daily tropical weather outlooks
  and other bulletins issued by the Indian Meteorological Department
  (IMD), which is the World Meteorological Organization's Regional
  Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) for the basin.
     The reported maximum sustained winds (MSW) are based on a 1-minute
  averaging period, which is used by all U. S. civilian and military
  weather services for tropical cyclone warnings.     For synoptic
  observations in the North Indian Ocean region, both 10-minute and
  3-minute average winds are employed, but IMD makes no attempt to
  modify the Dvorak scale for estimating tropical cyclone intensity;
  hence, a 1-minute average MSW is implied.  In the North Indian Ocean
  basin JTWC usually does not initiate warnings until a system has
  become well-organized and likely to attain tropical storm status
  within 48 hours.

                            TROPICAL CYCLONE
                            12 - 15 December

  A. Storm Origins

     An area of convection associated with a broad low-level circulation
  developed very deep in the tropics about 400 nm west of northern
  Sumatra on 10 December.  A surface analysis and microwave imagery
  indicated that multiple LLCCs were embedded within a broad trough which
  was being enhanced by strong equatorial westerlies and northeasterly
  monsoon flow to the north.  Animated visible imagery indicated cycling
  and disorganized convection near the trough, while an upper-level
  analysis indicated the disturbance lay under favorable diffluence but
  under not-so-favorable vertical shear.   At 10/1800 UTC the system was
  located about 660 nm east-southeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, with little
  change in organization noted.

     The development potential was upgraded to fair at 0600 UTC on the 11th
  based on improving organization and a weakening of the vertical shear.
  A TCFA was issued at 1400 UTC on 12 December, relocating the system to
  a position about 530 nm east-northeast of Colombo.  Animated enhanced
  infrared and microwave imagery revealed that the LLCC had consolidated
  to the north of the previous position.  The overall organization of the
  system had continued to improve and the MSW was estimated at around
  25-30 kts.  JTWC issued the first warning on Tropical Cyclone 03B at
  12/1800 UTC, placing the center approximately 550 nm east-southeast of
  Madras, India.  Animated water vapor imagery indicated increasing pole-
  ward outflow, and the initial warning intensity was estimated at 30 kts.
  TC-03B was tracking northwestward at 7 kts along the southern periphery
  of a mid-level ridge located to the north of the system.

  B. Storm History

     The system continued tracking slowly in a general northwesterly
  direction.  The LLCC, completely exposed southeast of the deep convection
  at 0600 UTC on the 13th, had partially moved underneath the convection
  by 1800 UTC.  With CI estimates at 35 kts, JTWC upped the MSW to that
  value and placed the center of TC-03B about 415 nm east-southeast of
  Madras.  The cyclone was forecast to continue tracking northwestward
  along the southern periphery of a mid-level ridge located to the north-
  northeast.  The system appeared to be slightly stronger on the 14th--the
  MSW was upped to 45 kts at 0600 UTC.  By 1800 UTC the center of TC-03B
  had reached a position approximately 200 nm east-southeast of Madras.
  Animated water vapor imagery indicated good radial outflow with an
  additional poleward outflow channel that was being enhanced by the
  leading edge of a trough approaching from the west.

     By 0600 UTC on 15 December the cyclone had accelerated somewhat in
  its northwesterly trek to 14 kts and was located about 130 nm north-
  northeast of Madras.   Satellite CI estimates ranged from 45 to 65 kts,
  and JTWC increased the MSW to its peak value of 55 kts.  The center of
  TC-03B made landfall at approximately 15/1430 UTC near False Divi Point,
  India, and by 1800 UTC was inland and tracking northward at 9 kts.
  Convection had decreased significantly since landfall and continued
  weakening was forecast.  The 1800 UTC warning was the final one from
  JTWC.  The only observation I've received was sent by Patrick Hoareau.
  At 1500 UTC, Machilipatnam (16.2N, 81.2E) reported a pressure of 997 mb
  and northeast winds of 40 kts with moderate rain.

  C. Damage and Casualties

     According to press reports, Tropical Cyclone 03B packed quite a
  wallop when it struck India.   Eleven persons were killed, and three
  fishermen who went to sea before the cyclone hit were missing.  The
  storm triggered heavy rains and flooding, destroying houses in several
  villages across four coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh State.  Many
  trees were uprooted and the cyclone destroyed many banana fields.
  There was one report of waves up to 10 metres in height.  Television
  coverage of the storm's aftermath revealed many fairly thick trees and
  poles snapped in two.  This would suggest that TC-03B may have been
  somewhat stronger than the 55-60 kts reported in the warnings.  One
  press report mentioned winds of hurricane force, but it is unknown
  if this is estimated or recorded, nor whether it refers to sustained
  winds or peak gusts.   Microwave and scatterometer data suggest that
  winds could have been in the 75-80 kt range at landfall.

  (Report written by Gary Padgett)


  SOUTHWEST INDIAN OCEAN (SWI) - South Indian Ocean West of Longitude 90E

  Activity for December:  1 severe tropical storm
                          1 tropical cyclone (hurricane)

                        Sources of Information

     The primary sources of tracking and intensity information for
  Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclones are the warnings issued by
  the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre on La Reunion Island, part of
  Meteo France (MFR), and the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre
  for the basin.    However, tropical cyclones in this region are named 
  by the sub-regional warning centres on Mauritius and Madagascar with
  longitude 55E being the demarcation line between their respective
  areas of warning responsibility.  The La Reunion centre only advises
  these agencies regarding the intensity of tropical systems.  References
  to sustained winds imply a 10-minute averaging period unless otherwise

     In the companion tropical cyclone tracks file, I occasionally
  annotate positions from warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning
  Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl
  Harbor, Hawaii, when they differ from MFR's coordinates by usually
  40-50 nm or more.  The JTWC warnings are also the source of the
  1-minute average maximum sustained wind values included in the
  tracks file.    Additionally, information describing details of
  satellite imagery and atmospheric circulation features included in
  the narratives is often gleaned from the JTWC warnings.

            Southwest Indian Ocean Tropical Activity for December

     Two tropical storms formed in the South Indian Ocean west of longitude
  90E during December with one reaching minimal cyclone (hurricane)
  intensity.  Tropical Storm Cela crossed the northern tip of Madagascar,
  weakened over land, and then emerged into the Mozambique Channel where
  it re-intensified.  Cela moved slowly and very erratically southward
  through the Channel, reaching cyclone strength twice during its long
  life.  Severe Tropical Storm Darius formed farther east and moved on a
  poleward course which took the center very near Mauritius on 2 January 
  2004.  Reports for both these storms follow.

                         TROPICAL CYCLONE CELA
                           (MFR-03 / TC-03S)
                            5 - 21 December

  Cela: contributed by Swaziland

  A. Storm Origins

     The beginnings of long-lived Tropical Cyclone Cela can be traced to
  an area of convection which developed on 3 December about 440 nm west-
  southwest of Diego Garcia.  Animated enhanced infrared and microwave
  imagery revealed cycling and disorganized deep convection associated
  with a partially-exposed LLCC to the northwest.  A 200-mb analysis
  indicated moderate diffluence over the area with weak vertical shear.
  By 1800 UTC on the 4th the disturbance had moved westward to a position
  approximately 490 nm west-southwest of Diego Garcia.  The LLCC was no
  longer exposed, and was becoming better organized with improving poleward
  outflow.  JTWC raised the potential for development to fair at this
  time.  A TCFA was issued by JTWC at 04/2300 UTC, placing the LLCC about
  580 nm west-southwest of Diego Garcia.  The LLCC had continued to
  organize, and deep convection had increased and was no longer cyclic.
  Upper-level conditions remained optimal for further intensification.

     MFR issued the first bulletin on the system at 0600 UTC on 5 December,
  upgrading it directly to Tropical Depression 03 with 30-kt winds.  The
  first JTWC warning on TC-03S was issued at 05/1800 UTC, locating the
  center about 700 nm west-southwest of Diego Garcia and tracking west-
  southwestward at 4 kts.  The MSW (1-min avg) was estimated at 30 kts,
  and the system was forecast to intensify as the poleward outflow was
  being enhanced by the approach of a major shortwave trough from the
  southwest.   The depression was being steered by a low to mid-level
  ridge anchored to the southeast.   Intensification of the system was
  rather slow, possibly hindered by dry air in the western semicircle.
  The track was initially toward the west-southwest, becoming more
  westerly on the 7th.   At 1800 UTC the system was centered approximately
  400 nm north of Mauritius.   Convection had been gradually increasing
  near the center, and a 07/1733 UTC SSM/I pass depicted deep convection
  over the LLCC.  MFR and Mauritius were still treating the system as a
  tropical depression, but JTWC upped the MSW (1-min avg) to 35 kts at
  07/0600 UTC and to 40 kts at 1800 UTC.  Satellite CI estimates (1-min
  avg) were up to 45 kts, and QuikScat data revealed an unflagged 35-kt
  wind vector.

  B. Storm History

     Tropical Storm Cela was christened at 0600 UTC on 8 December when the
  center was located approximately 285 nm east of the northern tip of
  Madagascar, moving westward at 10 kts.   Poleward outflow was good, but
  deep convection had weakened some during the previous 12 hours.  Based on
  MFR's warnings, Cela reached an initial peak intensity of 45 kts (10-min
  avg) at 0000 UTC on 9 December before weakening slightly.  Convection
  continued to cycle in intensity up to the time Cela made landfall in
  extreme northern Madagascar around 1200 UTC on the 9th.   The storm's
  intensity at the time of landfall was around 35-40 kts (per MFR), and
  by 1800 UTC Cela had been reduced to depression status.   Cela quickly
  crossed over the northern end of Madagascar and by 0600 UTC on the 10th
  was over water once more approximately 50 nm west of the island.  The
  concurrent JTWC warning indicated that the LLCC was no longer evident
  in a surface analysis and QuikScat data, so the 0600 UTC warning was
  intended to be the final one.  However, by 1800 UTC deep convection was
  beginning to regenerate over the old LLCC, so warnings were re-initiated.
  Cela's center was then estimated to be about 270 nm north-northwest of
  Antananarivo, Madagascar, moving west-southwestward at 11 kts.  The
  upper-level environment was favorable for further strengthening with
  good diffluence and weak vertical shear.  The MSW (1-min avg) was
  estimated at 25 kts, but this was bumped to 35 kts at 11/0600 UTC.
  Interestingly, MFR issued a "final" bulletin on the system at 10/1800
  UTC, the same time at which JTWC restarted warnings.  However, MFR
  also resumed issuing bulletins on Cela at 11/1200 UTC.

     Cela remained quasi-stationary on the 11th.  Deep convection continued
  to slowly increase with both poleward and equatorward outflow evident.
  The system was forecast to track slowly poleward along the western
  periphery of a low-level ridge to the east.  JTWC upped the MSW (1-min
  avg) to 40 kts at 11/1800 UTC, based on CI estimates of 30 and 45 kts,
  but MFR maintained the system at 25 kts through the 13th.  Cela continued
  to remain quasi-stationary roughly 300 nm northwest of Antananarivo all
  through the 12th and 13th of December while convection cycled in
  a diurnal fashion.  One CI estimate reached 55 kts on the 12th, but this
  came down on the 13th.   MFR's intensity remained locked in at 25 kts
  through 0000 UTC on 14 December, and JTWC reduced their MSW to 35 kts
  at 12/1800 UTC where it remained pegged until 1800 UTC on the 15th.

     At 0000 UTC on 14 December MFR increased the intensity to 30 kts, and
  at 1200 UTC re-upgraded Cela to tropical storm status.  The storm moved
  slowly south-southwestward in the Mozambique Channel about halfway
  between Madagascar and Mozambique, although late on the 15th a slight
  jog to the south-southeast was taken.  The intensity remained basically
  static, as per both MFR and JTWC, but on the 15th Cela began to show
  signs of intensification.   At 15/1200 UTC MFR increased the MSW from
  35 kts to 50 kts.   A microwave pass indicated a mid-level eye feature
  with a banding feature wrapping around the southern semicircle.   A
  transient shortwave trough was enhancing the poleward outflow, leading to
  the intensification of Cela.   Satellite CI estimates at 15/0600 UTC were
  55 and 65 kts, and a SSM/I 37-GHz image revealed an 18-nm irregular eye.
  JTWC upped the MSW (1-min avg) to 65 kts at 0600 UTC, and MFR upgraded
  Cela to a tropical cyclone (hurricane) six hours later.  The system
  retained its eye through the 16th, but by 17/0600 UTC an AMSU pass revealed
  that the LLCC had become fully-exposed with disorganized deep convection
  occurring only in the southern quadrants.  Both MFR and JTWC lowered the
  intensity to 55 kts at 17/0600 UTC with the storm located approximately
  370 nm west-southwest of Antananarivo, moving west-southwestward at
  4 kts.

     Cela was forecast to slowly decrease in intensity as it tracked
  southwestward along the northern edge of a transient HIGH located to
  the south.  However, another shortwave trough approaching from the
  southwest was expected to enhance the poleward outflow once more, leading
  to another round of intensification.  This forecast verified rather well.
  Cela continued to drift southwestward through 0600 UTC on the 18th, when
  it became quasi-stationary for around six hours or so at a point about
  250 nm west of Tulear on the southwestern coast of Madagascar.  Following
  this halt the storm began a slow but steady east-southeasterly drift in
  the general direction of the southern tip of Madagascar.  MFR upped the
  intensity to 60 kts at 17/1800 UTC, and to 65 kts for a 24-hour period
  beginning at 0600 UTC on 18 December.   (It is interesting to note that
  at 18/0600 UTC, CI estimates ranged from 45 to 77 kts.)  MFR downgraded
  Cela to a 60-kt severe tropical storm at 19/0600 UTC, but interestingly,
  JTWC upgraded the storm to 65 kts for a 24-hour period beginning at
  19/1800 UTC--after MFR had downgraded Cela.  

     The southeasterly motion came to a halt at 19/1800 UTC when Cela was
  centered approximately 175 nm south-southwest of Tulear, or west of the
  southern tip of Madagascar.  Tropical Cyclone Cela's track southward
  through the Mozambique Channel had been very erratic.   A late December
  tropical storm in the Northwest Pacific basin was dubbed "Zigzag" by
  PAGASA; indeed, such a moniker would have been very apt for Cela, based
  on the nature of its track.   However, after 19/1800 UTC all the
  zigzagging ceased.  The storm embarked on a definite southerly course,
  and by 1800 UTC on the 20th was zipping southward at 20 kts.  This rapid
  southward motion, however, brought about the demise of this long-lived
  and tenacious cyclone as the system moved into an environment of cooler
  SSTs and increasing vertical shear.  By 20/1800 UTC Cela was beginning
  to undergo extratropical transition and the intensity had fallen to
  50 kts (per both MFR and JTWC).   The storm was well on its way to
  becoming fully extratropical at 21/0600 UTC as it continued speeding
  southeastward into higher latitudes.  JTWC issued their final warning
  on the system at this time, and MFR issued their final bulletin at 1200
  UTC, placing the 40-kt extratropical gale about 900 nm east-southeast
  of Durban, South Africa.

  C. Casualties and Damage

     No reports of casualties or damage resulting from Tropical Cyclone
  Cela have been received.

  (Report written by Gary Padgett)

                         TROPICAL STORM DARIUS
                           (MFR-04 / TC-06S)
                        29 December - 4 January

  Darius: contributed by Mauritius

  A. Storm Origins

     On 24 December an area of convection was noted approximately 325 nm
  west of Diego Garcia.  The existence of a LLCC was suspected within the
  near-equatorial trough, and an upper-level analysis indicated weak
  vertical shear and good divergence aloft.   The zone of disturbed
  weather was very broad, and on the 25th the primary area of interest
  was relocated much farther to the east to a point approximately 170 nm
  west-northwest of Diego Garcia.  A 25/1248 UTC QuikScat pass indicated
  cross equatorial flow but no clear evidence of a LLCC.   Over the next
  couple of days there was little change in the system--convection
  continued to cycle over a possible LLCC within the elongated trough and
  the upper-level environment remained basically favorable for further

     JTWC issued an interim STWO at 0100 UTC on 28 December upgrading the
  development potential to fair.  Convection had become better organized
  and a recent microwave image had revealed enhanced curvature of low-level
  cloud lines associated with the deep convection.   The disturbance was
  estimated to be about 200 nm west-southwest of Diego Garcia, but at
  1800 UTC was relocated about 150 nm to the west.   A TCFA was issued
  at 0000 UTC on 29 December, placing the LLCC about 485 nm west-southwest
  of Diego Garcia.  Animated enhanced infrared imagery indicated that the
  deep convection was becoming better organized around the LLCC.  JTWC
  issued the first warning on TC-06S at 29/0600 UTC, and at the same time
  MFR initiated bulletins on Tropical Disturbance 04 with both agencies
  estimating the MSW at 25 kts.  The system was then located approximately
  500 nm west-southwest of Diego Garcia, moving west-southwestward at
  8 kts.  An upper-level analysis indicated that the disturbance was
  operating in an environment of moderate poleward outflow and moderate
  vertical shear.

  B. Storm History

     The intensification trend continued and JTWC raised the MSW (1-min
  avg) to 35 kts at 29/1800 UTC, based on CI estimates of 30, 35 and
  45 kts.  However, MFR, following the most conservative estimate, main-
  tained the intensity 25 kts through 30/0000 UTC.   TC-06S at the time
  was tracking southwestward at 8 kts along the northwestern quadrant of
  a low to mid-level steering ridge located to the southeast.   Outflow
  gradually improved on the 30th and the system responded by slowly
  strengthening.  MFR upgraded the disturbance to tropical depression
  status (30 kts) at 0600 UTC, and at 1800 UTC Tropical Storm Darius was
  christened by the Mauritius Meteorological Service.   At the time, Darius
  was centered approximately 375 nm north-northeast of Mauritius, tracking
  southwestward at 10 kts.  Intensity estimates from MFR and JTWC were
  40 and 45 kts, respectively.  The storm's track became increasingly
  south-southwestward on 31 December and Darius became more and more of
  a threat to Mauritius.  Microwave imagery around 1800 UTC revealed the
  formation of a banding eye feature.  This prompted JTWC to upgrade the
  MSW (1-min avg) to 65 kts, but MFR never classified Darius as a tropical
  cyclone (hurricane).   Darius' peak intensity based on MFR's warnings
  was 55 kts (10-min avg) for a 24-hour period beginning at 0600 UTC on
  1 January.

     New Year's Day, 2004, saw Darius reach its peak intensity and then
  begin a slow weakening trend.  The severe tropical storm's track also
  became southerly, lessening the threat somewhat to Mauritius.  By 01/1800
  UTC Darius was located approximately 140 nm north-northeast of the
  island, moving southward at 7 kts.  Satellite CI estimates were 55 and
  65 kts, and based on a weakening trend apparent in microwave imagery,
  JTWC reduced the MSW (1-min avg) to 60 kts.  The 2nd of January saw
  Tropical Storm Darius slide southward by Mauritius, passing the island
  less than 30 nm to the east--at 1800 UTC the center was located only
  about 40 nm east-southeast of Mauritius.  The storm's intensity as
  reported by MFR was 50 kts (10-min avg); CI estimates were ranging from
  45 to 65 kts at the time.

     By 1800 UTC on 3 January Darius was tracking south-southeastward at
  15 kts from a position about 265 nm south-southeast of Mauritius.  Winds
  were down to 45 kts.  Continued slow weakening and transition to an
  extratropical LOW were forecast as the storm made its way into higher
  latitudes.  Acceleration to the southeast continued on the 4th as
  animated water vapor imagery depicted weakening deep convection.  Both
  MFR and JTWC declared Darius extratropical at 04/1200 UTC and issued
  their respective final bulletins.  The extratropical gale with 40-kt
  winds was then located about 600 nm southeast of Reunion Island and
  racing southeastward at 26 kts.

  C. Meteorological Observations

     Patrick Hoareau has sent me a few observations gleaned from various
  sources.  The center of Darius passed about 43 nm west-northwest of
  St. Brandon (16.5S, 59.6E) around 0600 UTC on 1 January.  The weather
  station there recorded a peak gust of 66 kts, and 135 mm of rain was
  recorded during a 24-hour period.   The closest approach of the center
  to Mauritius was about 21 nm at 1800 UTC on the 2nd of January.  Radar
  and microwave data showed very clearly that the southeastern quadrant
  with the strongest convective bands and strongest winds remained well
  out at sea.  The western edge of the radar eye impinged on the east and
  southeast coasts of Mauritius near 1700 UTC where some locations reported
  a lull.   Plaisance (the airport and near sea level) on the southeast
  coast reported a peak gust of 58 kts, and Souillac on the south coast
  recorded a peak gust of 59 kts.   Rainfall amounts were near 100 mm in
  exposed areas, and these rains were very welcome since the island had
  experienced a prolonged drought.  All in all, Tropical Storm Darius
  was a positive event for Mauritius, bringing much needed rain with the
  the most destructive winds remaining over the ocean.  (A special thanks
  to Patrick for sending me the information.)

  D. Damage and Casualties

     The author has not received any reports of damage or casualties in
  Mauritius resulting from Tropical Storm Darius.  Given the magnitude of
  the peak gusts, it is likely that only minor, scattered wind damage
  would have been experienced.

  (Report written by Gary Padgett)



  Activity for December:  2 severe tropical cyclones (hurricanes)

                        Sources of Information

     The primary sources of tracking and intensity information for
  Northwest Australia/Southeast Indian Ocean tropical cyclones are 
  the warnings and advices issued by the Tropical Cyclone Warning
  Centres at Perth, Western Australia, and Darwin, Northern Territory. 
  References to sustained winds imply a 10-minute averaging period
  unless otherwise stated.

     In the companion tropical cyclone tracks file, I occasionally
  annotate positions from warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning
  Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl
  Harbor, Hawaii, when they differ from the Australian centres' coor-
  dinates by usually 40-50 nm or more.  The JTWC warnings are also the
  source of the 1-minute average maximum sustained wind values included
  in the tracks file.   Additionally, information describing details of
  satellite imagery and atmospheric circulation features included in
  the narratives is often gleaned from the JTWC warnings.

                 Northwest Australia/Southeast Indian Ocean
                       Tropical Activity for December

     Two tropical cyclones formed in the Southern Hemisphere between
  longitudes 135E and 90E during the month of December with both reaching
  hurricane (severe tropical cyclone by Australian nomenclature) strength.
  Severe Tropical Cyclone Jana formed early in the month northwest of the
  Cocos Islands and executed a reverse curvature track around the islands,
  moving eastward, then southward, and finally westward as it weakened.
  Around mid-month a tropical LOW formed in the northern Gulf of
  Carpentaria and moved westward as it slowly intensified.  The LOW was
  named Tropical Cyclone Debbie on the 18th shortly before it crossed
  the 135th meridian.  Debbie subsequently took a south-southwestward
  track and reached severe tropical cyclone status before moving inland
  along the northern coastline of Australia's Northern Territory.  Reports
  on both Jana and Debbie follow.  The report on Debbie was written by
  Simon Clarke--a special thanks to Simon for his assistance.

                      SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE JANA
                             7 - 12 December

  A. Storm Origins

     An area of convection developed on 3 December about 350 nm northwest
  of the Cocos Islands.  Animated enhanced infrared imagery indicated
  cycling and disorganized deep convection over a possible LLCC, and some
  mid-level turning was also noted.  An upper-level analysis indicated
  moderate diffluence aloft with moderate vertical shear.  By the next
  day the disturbance was centered about 430 nm northwest of the Cocos
  Islands.  Deep convection had decreased, and the LLCC appeared to have
  opened up somewhat, leaving broad troughing at the surface.  The Perth
  TCWC mentioned the LOW in their Tropical Weather Outlook, giving the
  system a moderate chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within
  the next 48-72 hours.   On the 5th the system was still further west,
  and animated enhanced infrared imagery indicated that the LLCC being
  followed was one of several vortices embedded in the monsoon trough.
  An upper-level analysis indicated weak diffluence aloft associated
  with mostly linear flow.  Vertical shear was still moderate.

     A STWO issued by JTWC at 1800 UTC on 6 December relocated the system
  well back to the east to a position approximately 340 nm northwest of
  the Cocos Islands.  (Likely, another of the multiple LLCCs mentioned
  above had become the dominant center.)  The LLCC had consolidated and
  was becoming better organized.  Also, an upper-level analysis indicated
  improving environmental conditions under the subtropical ridge axis
  with weaker shear than previously.   Perth gave the LOW a high chance
  of developing into a tropical cyclone within the next 48-72 hours.
  JTWC issued a TCFA at 06/2300 UTC as convection was rapidly increasing
  over the well-defined LLCC.  The first JTWC warning on TC-04S was
  issued at 07/0000 UTC, placing the center approximately 300 nm north-
  northwest of the Cocos Islands.  The MSW (1-min avg) was estimated at
  35 kts, and the system was tracking eastward at 10 kts.  Satellite CI
  estimates were only 25 kts, but an unflagged QuikScat report of 30 and
  40 kts was used as the basis for the warning intensity.  The Perth TCWC
  issued the first gale warning on the LOW at 07/0400 UTC in anticipation
  of the system becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 12 hours.

  B. Storm History

     Perth upgraded the LOW to Tropical Cyclone Jana with 40-kt winds at 
  07/1000 UTC.  Jana was then centered approximately 285 nm north-northwest
  of the Cocos Islands.  (At 1200 UTC JTWC upped the 1-min avg MSW to
  50 kts.)  By 0000 UTC on 8 December satellite imagery revealed that Jana
  had continued to intensify with tightly-curved banding features and both
  equatorward and poleward outflow.    Perth increased the intensity to
  55 kts while JTWC upgraded Jana's winds to 65 kts (1-min avg).  The
  cyclone at 08/0000 UTC was located about 250 nm north of the Cocos
  Islands and moving south-southeastward at 3 kts.  The increasing threat
  to the islands prompted Perth to issue Tropical Cyclone Advices until the
  threat had lessened.  At 1000 UTC Perth upped Jana's winds to 70 kts,
  making Jana officially a severe tropical cyclone (i.e., hurricane).  The
  storm was being steered by a mid-level ridge situated to the southeast.

     Severe Tropical Cyclone Jana reached its peak intensity on the 9th of
  December.  Perth's peak intensity (10-min avg) was 75 kts, and JTWC's
  peak MSW (1-min avg) was 80 kts.  JTWC, however, upped Jana's intensity
  to 80 kts after Perth had decreased their MSW estimate to 70 kts.  By
  1200 UTC Jana was located 140 nm east of the Cocos Islands, moving south
  at 9 kts.  Hence, the threat posed by the cyclone to the island group
  had significantly lessened.   Animated water vapor imagery around 0000
  UTC on 10 December revealed the first indications of increasing vertical
  shear and also a decrease in the poleward outflow channel.  The cyclone
  was forecast to continue southward for the next 12 hours and then begin
  to turn to the southwest as a ridge to the south became the primary
  steering mechanism.   This forecast verified--at 1200 UTC Jana was
  centered about 180 nm south-southeast of the Cocos Islands and moving
  southwestward at 8 kts.  A 10/0530 UTC TRMM pass had revealed that the
  LLCC was north of the deep convection due to northerly wind shear.
  Perth had lowered the MSW to 60 kts at 0400 UTC, but JTWC maintained
  Jana at 75 kts (1-min avg) based on CI estimates of 65 and 77 kts.

     By 0000 UTC on the 11th Jana was moving westward well to the south of
  the Cocos Islands.   The MSW estimates from Perth and JTWC were 50 kts
  and 55 kts, respectively.  The system's center had become fully-exposed
  with the convection sheared about 80 nm to the southeast of the LLCC.
  Jana was forecast to continue weakening in an unfavorable environment of
  northerly shear, linear to confluent flow aloft, and marginal SSTs.
  This forecast verified--by 1200 UTC convection had significantly
  decreased from 12 hours earlier.   Jana by this time had weakened to
  minimal tropical cyclone intensity, and Perth issued their final gale
  warning at 11/2200 UTC.   JTWC issued their final warning at 12/0000 UTC,
  downgrading the MSW to 30 kts.  The convection-free LLCC was located
  approximately 225 nm southwest of the Cocos Islands, tracking westward
  at 7 kts.

  C. Damage and Casualties

     No damage or casualties are known to have resulted from Severe
  Tropical Cyclone Jana.

  (Report written by Gary Padgett)

                           17 - 21 December

  A. Storm Origins

     Debbie was the first tropical cyclone of the 2003/2004 season to be 
  named by the Northern Territory Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre and 
  the first to make landfall on the Australian mainland for the season.

     The cyclone originated from the first significant burst of widespread
  thunderstorm activity associated with the developing monsoon trough 
  to the north of the Australian continent.  The Bureau of Meteorology at 
  Darwin first detected a 1005 hPa tropical LOW on 16 December near 
  10S, 140W, travelling west at 8 kts.  At the time, the tropical LOW 
  was being subjected to moderate upper-level wind shear.  However, 
  organization continued to improve, and by 17 December banding was 
  evident along with a small central feature persisting against diurnal 
  trends.  The first gale warning was issued at 17/0700 UTC for a 30-nm 
  area close to the developing tropical LOW.  
     The tropical LOW continued to improve in structure while steadily 
  intensifying.  At approximately 18/2100 UTC (or during the early 
  morning hours of 19 December 2004, Northern Territory time), the
  992 hPa tropical low was upgraded to tropical cyclone status and named 

  B. Storm History

     At the time of naming, slow-moving Tropical Cyclone Debbie was 
  located about 125 nm north of Elcho Island and 230 nm east-northeast 
  of Cape Don.  Under favourable conditions, including high sea surface 
  temperatures (28-30 C), Debbie steadily intensified, commencing a 
  westerly, then southwesterly and finally south-southwesterly track 
  across the Arafura Sea.

     By 19/1500 UTC, Tropical Cyclone Debbie had attained "severe" 
  Category 3 status as it moved closer to the coast at 5 kts.  Debbie 
  crossed the coast at approximately 20/1130 UTC just east of Goulburn 
  Island (11.6S, 133.6E).  At this time, Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie 
  had a central pressure of 970 hPa with a MSW (10-min avg) of 65 kts 
  (gusts up to 90 kts) and was moving on a south to south-southwesterly 
  track at 4 kts. 
     Upon crossing the coast, the cyclone slowly but steadily weakened and 
  was downgraded to a rain depression at 21/0000 UTC about 100 km east- 
  southeast of Jabiru.  The remnant depression persisted for several days 
  while trekking southwestward across the Northern Territory, passing
  close to Katherine on 22 December, Timber Creek on 23 December, and
  finally moving into the Kimberley region of Western Australia on
  the 24th.

  C. Damage and Casualties

     The Bureau of Meteorology provided the following comments on Debbie's 

     "No observations were available from near the centre of Tropical
  Cyclone Debbie.  However, an aerial inspection of the coast affected 
  by the core of the cyclone between Goulburn Island and Maningrida 
  revealed severe damage to vegetation with 30-40% of trees felled. 
  Fortunately, there are no communities along this part of the coast, 
  apart from a few outstations further inland.  No injuries were 

     "About 7 hours of gales and 1 hour of near storm-force winds were 
  recorded at Warruwi Automatic Weather Station, with a maximum wind 
  gust of 66 kts at 18:30 CST on the 20th (20/0900 UTC). The lowest 
  pressure recorded at the same station was 989.9 hPa at 16:13 CST. 
  Structural damage was limited to a few lifted sheets of roofing iron. 
  Trees fell onto power lines, interrupting power and water supplies 
  during the cyclone.

     "At Maningrida, a brief period of gales with a maximum gust of 44 kts 
  occurred around 21:30 CST on the 20th (20/1200 UTC).  A 2-metre swell 
  combined with a storm surge caused minor coastal flooding, and the sea
  level rose about 0.5 metres above the barge landing.  At McCluer Island,
  west of Goulburn Island and further away from the landfall area,
  sustained gales were recorded for 8 hours, with a maximum wind gust of
  51 kts at around 16:00 CST on the 20th (20/0630 UTC)."

     As a rain depression, heavy rainfall affected the Arnhem, Darwin-Daly,
  Katherine and northern Victoria River Districts, resulting in flooding
  in many catchments throughout the Top End.  Many areas north of Katherine
  reported up to 300 mm of rain during the passage of the cyclone and
  associated rain depression.  The remnant depression then moved westward
  into the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  Falls of more than 50 mm
  were reported at most Kimberley sites with several locations such as
  Ord River Dam (230 mm) and Warmun (172 mm) reporting much higher falls
  in the week to 30 December 2003.

     One related, but indirect death was reported in the media that could
  be attributed to Tropical Cyclone Debbie--a crocodile reportedly mauled
  a man to death in a remote part of the Northern Territory.    The
  authorities in the Northern Territory stated that the heavy rains caused
  by Debbie allowed the fierce predators to move farther inland.

  (Report written by Simon Clarke)



  Activity for December:  1 hybrid or monsoon LOW of gale intensity

                        Sources of Information

     The primary sources of tracking and intensity information for
  Northeast Australia/Coral Sea tropical cyclones are the warnings
  and advices issued by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres at
  Brisbane, Queensland, and Darwin, Northern Territory, and on very
  infrequent occasions, by the centre at Port Moresby, Papua New
  Guinea.  References to sustained winds imply a 10-minute averaging
  period unless otherwise stated.

     In the companion tropical cyclone tracks file, I occasionally
  annotate positions from warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning
  Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl
  Harbor, Hawaii, when they differ from the Australian centres' coor-
  dinates by usually 40-50 nm or more.  The JTWC warnings are also the
  source of the 1-minute average maximum sustained wind values included
  in the tracks file.   Additionally, information describing details of
  satellite imagery and atmospheric circulation features included in
  the narratives is often gleaned from the JTWC warnings.

                      Northeast Australia/Coral Sea
                 Tropical Cyclone Activity for December

     No tropical cyclones were named in the Gulf of Carpentaria or Coral
  Sea during December.  At the end of the month, an interesting system
  formed northwest of New Caledonia, actually spending most of its life
  east of 160E, but since Brisbane issued gale warnings on the LOW, I am
  covering it here.   The Tropical Cyclone Outlook issued by Brisbane on
  30 December stated that "a strong upper LOW near New Caledonia is
  producing a low-pressure system to its northeast.  Global computer models
  indicate the formation of a monsoon LOW in the eastern Coral Sea in the
  next 24 to 48 hours owing to the upper LOW.  Models develop this complex
  system and move it westwards towards the Queensland coast late in the
  week.  At this stage this system it not expected to form into a classical
  tropical cyclone--it is expected to be a vigorous LOW with gales removed
  from the system centre."

     That pretty much sums up what transpired over the next few days.  At
  1800 UTC on the 30th a LOW was centered roughly 265 nm north-northwest
  of Noumea, producing 30-kt winds.  The system moved slowly in a westerly
  direction for the next couple of days, producing winds up to 35 kts.
  The LOW began to weaken late on 1 January 2004 with Brisbane issuing the
  final gale warning at 01/2200 UTC, the center being located approximately
  400 nm northwest of Noumea.   The Nadi TCWC also issued general gale
  warnings for the areas affected by the system.

  (NOTE:  I did produce a track for this system in the December tropical
  cyclone tracks file.  There was a missing data point indicated for
  0600 UTC on 1 January, which I discovered later was due to my having
  filed the appropriate warning in the wrong folder.  The particulars
  for 01/0600 UTC are:  Lat. 18.5S, Lon. 160.5E, CP 996 hPa, and a MSW
  of 35 kts (10-min avg), all based on the Brisbane warning.  I have
  dispatched a corrected tracks file to the gentlemen who archive the
  summaries and tracks.)


  SOUTH PACIFIC (SPA) - South Pacific Ocean East of Longitude 160E

  Activity for December:  2 tropical depressions

                        Sources of Information

     The primary sources of tracking and intensity information for
  South Pacific tropical cyclones are the warnings and advisories
  issued by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres at Nadi, Fiji (for
  waters north of latitude 25S), and Wellington, New Zealand (for
  waters south of latitude 25S).  References to sustained winds imply
  a 10-minute averaging period unless otherwise stated.

     In the companion tropical cyclone tracks file, I occasionally
  annotate positions from warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning
  Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl
  Harbor, Hawaii, when they differ from the Southern Hemisphere
  centres' coordinates by usually 40-50 nm or more.  The JTWC warnings
  are also the source of the 1-minute average maximum sustained wind
  values included in the tracks file.    Additionally, information
  describing details of satellite imagery and atmospheric circulation
  features included in the narratives is often gleaned from the JTWC

               South Pacific Tropical Activity for December

     No tropical cyclones formed during the month of December in the South
  Pacific basin east of 160E.   A tropical disturbance well to the north-
  west of Fiji was designated as Tropical Disturbance 01F early in the
  month, and was referred to as a "weak tropical depression" on the 5th
  and 6th.  The system had weakened by late on the 6th due to strong
  vertical shear.  No track was given for this weak system in the December
  cyclone tracks file.   Tropical Disturbance 03F was first noted on
  Christmas Day well to the north of Fiji.  This system drifted very slowly
  eastward during the following days and was referred to as a tropical
  depression on the 28th when it was very near the International Dateline.
  The depression continued to develop very slowly as it continued drifting
  eastward, and on 2 January was upgraded to Tropical Cyclone Heta.  Heta
  became a very intense cyclone and devastated the small island nation of
  Niue.  Heta will be covered in the January summary.


                              EXTRA FEATURE

     In order to shorten the amount of typing in preparing the narrative
  material, I have been in the habit of freely using abbreviations and
  acronyms.   I have tried to define most of these with the first usage
  in a given summary, but I may have missed one now and then.  Most of
  these are probably understood by a majority of readers but perhaps a
  few aren't clear to some.  To remedy this I developed a Glossary of
  Abbreviations and Acronyms which I first included in the July, 1998
  summary.  I don't normally include the Glossary in most months in
  order to help keep them from being too long.  If anyone would like to
  receive a copy of the Glossary, please e-mail me and I'll be happy
  to send them a copy.


  AUTHOR'S NOTE:  This summary should be considered a very preliminary 
  overview of the tropical cyclones that occur in each month. The cyclone
  tracks (provided separately) will generally be based upon operational
  warnings issued by the various tropical cyclone warning centers.  The
  information contained therein may differ somewhat from the tracking and
  intensity information obtained from a "best-track" file which is based
  on a detailed post-seasonal analysis of all available data. Information
  on where to find official "best-track" files from the various warning
  centers will be passed along from time to time.

    The track files are not being sent via e-mail.  They can be retrieved
  from the archive sites listed below.  (Note: I do have a limited e-mail
  distribution list for the track files.    If anyone wishes to receive
  these via e-mail, please send me a message.)

    Both the summaries and the track files are standard text files
  created in DOS editor.  Download to disk and use a viewer such as
  Notepad or DOS editor to view the files.

     The first summary in this series covered the month of October,
  1997.   Back issues can be obtained from the following websites
  (courtesy of Michael Bath, Michael V. Padua, Michael Pitt, and
  Chris Landsea):>>>

     Another website where much information about tropical cyclones may
  be found is the website for the UK Meteorological Office.  Their site
  contains a lot of statistical information about tropical cyclones
  globally on a monthly basis.  The URL is:>


     JTWC now has available on its website the complete Annual Tropical 
  Cyclone Report (ATCR) for 2002 (2001-2002 season for the Southern 
  Hemisphere).  ATCRs for earlier years are available also.  The report
  for the 2002-2003 Southern Hemisphere season has also recently been

     The URL is:>

     Also, TPC/NHC has available on its webpage nice "technicolor"
  tracking charts for the 2003 Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific
  tropical cyclones; also, storm reports for all the 2003 Atlantic
  and Eastern North Pacific cyclones are now available, as well as
  track charts and reports on storms from earlier years.

     The URL is:>

     A special thanks to Michael Bath of McLeans Ridges, New South Wales,
  Australia, for assisting me with proofreading the summaries.


  Gary Padgett
  E-mail:  [email protected]
  Phone:  334-222-5327

  Kevin Boyle  (Eastern Atlantic, Western Northwest Pacific, South
                China Sea)
  E-mail:  [email protected]

  Simon Clarke  (Northeast Australia/Coral Sea, South Pacific)
  E-mail:  [email protected]


Document: summ0312.htm
Updated: 26th October 2006

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