Tropical Cyclones
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Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summary December 2001
[Summaries and Track Data] [Prepared by Gary Padgett]

                             DECEMBER, 2001

  (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
  --> Most intense Northwest Pacific super typhoon of year forms
  --> Record-setting low latitude typhoon strikes near Singapore
  --> Destructive South Pacific cyclone heralds new year


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


     A few months back Jeff Callaghan sent a copy to me of the results
  of a study he'd performed looking for tropical cyclones forming at
  unusually low latitudes.  In the Australian Region there has been a
  renewed interest in such systems due to the planned construction of an
  oil and gas platform to be located at 9.6S, 128.1E.  An initial cursory
  inspection of tropical cyclone tracks in the region suggests that the
  worst activity has all occurred south of this location.  However, there
  have been quite a few disastrous tropical cyclones in the Indonesian
  region equatorward of the planned platform location.  Jeff's paper
  also made references to some destructive tropical cyclones which have
  affected Papua New Guinea in recent decades, and also to the very low-
  latitude Typhoon Kate in 1970 which struck southern Mindanao with
  great loss of life.  

     Such a survey of low-latitude cyclones seems especially appropriate
  now after seeing all the activity at very low latitudes since October,
  2001, beginning with Super Typhoon Podul and culminating with the near-
  equatorial Typhoon Vamei in late December which formed only about 
  90 nm north of the equator!  I have augmented Jeff's survey with a
  few systems which I've gleaned from perusing JTWC's "best tracks" 
  files.  (Mainly some which I remembered something about and looked up 
  the details on.)  

     I have arranged the survey into six sections:

  (A) Western North Pacific examples
  (B) Papua New Guinea and South Pacific examples
  (C) Tropical Cyclone Adel of 1993
  (D) Destructive Indonesian cyclones
  (E) The Flores tropical cyclone disaster of 1973
  (F) Concluding discussion

     It should be understood that in the case of Northwest and South
  Pacific systems, the storms detailed below do not represent an
  exhaustive listing of very low-latitude tropical cyclones, just
  a few examples which well document the fact that locations equator-
  ward of 10 degrees and occasionally even 5 degrees are not totally
  immune from tropical cyclone strikes.

  (A) Western North Pacific examples

     (1) Typhoon Kate, 14-25 October, 1970, reached tropical storm
         intensity at 5.0N, 140.0E; typhoon intensity at 4.3N, 137.4E;
         and super typhoon intensity (130 kts) at 6.0N, 126.3E.  Kate's
         winds had climbed to 120 kts when it was located near 4.4N,
         130.7E.  A reconnaissance flight measured a pressure of 938 mb
         at 4.5N, 131.0E.  Kate struck the Philippine island of Mindanao
         with a death toll of 631 persons.

     (2) Typhoon Sarah, 21 March-5 April, 1956, reached tropical storm
         intensity at 2.2N, 152.7E and typhoon strength at 3.3N, 146.8E.

     (3) Typhoon Ophelia, 7-16 January, 1958, was a 60-kt tropical storm
         at 5.9N, 170.9E and a typhoon near 6.0N, 170.0E.  The storm
         struck Jaliut Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  Later Ophelia
         reached a peak intensity of 140 kts near 9.0N, 141.4E.

     (4) Recent Months - As of the date of this writing (20 April 2002),
         there have been no less than five NWP tropical cyclones to
         reach tropical storm strength (per JTWC's operational analysis)
         since last October:

         (a) Podul - became a tropical storm near 5.7N, 156.3E
         (b) 29W (Pabling) - reached tropical storm intensity near 
             6.2N, 112.5E

         (c) Faxai - became a tropical storm near 5.0N, 162.0E and a
             typhoon at 8.7N, 158.8E.  Faxai went on to become a super
             typhoon near 11.6N, 155.0E.

         (d) Vamei - became a tropical storm and typhoon at 1.5N--only
             90 nm north of the equator

         (e) Mitag - became a tropical storm at 6.5N, 155.2E and a
             typhoon at 6.6N, 147.8E

  (B) Papua New Guinea and South Pacific examples

     (1) Annie, 10-16 November, 1967, became a tropical storm near
         6.3S, 160.5E

     (2) Hannah, 8-12 May, 1972, reached tropical storm intensity at
         6.8S, 154.1E and hurricane intensity near 7.2S, 151.4E     

     (3) Ida, 30 May-5 June, 1972, reached tropical storm intensity
         at 6.3S, 157.1E and hurricane intensity near 7.4S, 158.4E

     (4) Bebe, 19-28 October, 1972, became a tropical storm near 7.6S,
         179.7W and a hurricane at 8.0S, 179.8E

  (C) Tropical Cyclone Adel of 1993

     Tropical Cyclone Adel in May, 1993, the last tropical cyclone named
  by the Port Moresby Warning Center, crossed over Bougainville in its
  early stages and later struck Goodenough Island off the coast of Papua
  New Guinea where it was quite destructive.  The cyclone then weakened
  and dissipated near the northeastern coast of Papua New Guinea.  The
  JTWC Best Track indicates peak winds (1-min avg) in Adel of only
  45 kts, but the Australian track gives a minimum central pressure of
  970 mb, even though this was estimated.   Jeff Callaghan's notes
  indicate that a clear eye was never observed, although Adel displayed
  a tightly-coiled banding eye at one stage.

     On Goodenough Island damage was severe.    Fifteen people were
  reported missing and two were known to have drowned.   Forests were
  stripped over the island, and on the west side 342 dwellings were
  flattened.  A repeater tower was bent in half, and Jeff states that
  the damage to the tower would have required gusts in excess of 100 kts.
  Adel was a midget cyclone, and, as has been observed with other small
  Coral Sea systems in recent years (i.e., Rona, Steve, Tessi, Vaughan),
  was likely considerably more intense than standard Dvorak analysis
  techniques would have implied.

  (D) Destructive Indonesian cyclones

     (1) April, 1778 - The Banda Islands (4.5S, 129.8E) were struck by
         a tropical cyclone.  Nearly all houses were unroofed over a 
         4-hour period and 85% of the nutmeg trees were destroyed.  A
         similar event occurred there in 1811.

     (2) April, 1841 - On Roti (10.6S, 123.0E), 75 people were killed by
         a cyclone and many homes destroyed.

     (3) 1850 - Elderly inhabitants of the Kei Islands (5.8S, 132.7E)
         tell about a terrible cyclone in the 1850's when many trees 
         were uprooted.

     (4) April, 1908 - In the Kisar Islands (8.0S, 127.2E), 150 people
         were killed by a tropical cyclone.

     (5) April, 1925 - Yamdena (7.5S, 131.5E) was struck by a tropical
         cyclone which destroyed almost all houses.  On nearby Selaru
         (8.0S, 131.0E) 10 people were killed, hundreds of palms were
         blown down, most houses were damaged, and the storm surge
         destroyed many of the plantations.

     (6) April, 1960 - The ship "Straat Jahore" encountered a hurricane
         near 8.7S, 129.1E.

     (7) December, 1960 - Saumlaki (7.9S, 131.3E) was virtually destroyed
         by a tropical cyclone with most people left homeless.  The storm
         caused 3 deaths and thousands of palm trees were uprooted.

  (E) The Flores tropical cyclone disaster of 1973

     In April of 1973 a tropical cyclone with an infrared image at 
  29/0140 UTC near 8.0S, 121.5E, looked like a clone of Cyclone Tracy,
  which destroyed Darwin in December of 1974.  Following is a track
  for this cyclone, which has come to be known as the Flores Cyclone,
  held in the National Archives Office in Darwin:

  27 April - 0000 UTC - 5.6 S, 128.0 E
  27 April - 1600 UTC - 6.0 S, 126.0 E
  28 April - 0600 UTC - 6.5 S, 124.3 E
  28 April - 1100 UTC - 6.5 S, 122.8 E
  28 April - 1600 UTC - 7.1 S, 121.6 E
  29 April - 0400 UTC - 8.4 S, 121.4 E
     No warnings were issued for this cyclone.  At the time it was not in
  the Australian AOR and forecasters at the time were not confident there
  was a cyclone as the sparse observations gave no indication of the
  cyclone's presence until an eye became evident just before the storm
  struck Flores.  The eye was embedded in a circular CDO about 160 nm 
  in diameter.

     The Flores Cyclone was responsible for the loss of a ship with 21
  lives, 53 deaths on the Indonesian island of Flores, and perhaps most
  tragically, the storm caused the deaths of 1500 fisherman lost at sea.
  At the time, the news of the disaster took a month to reach the
  Australian press due to the remoteness of the area and the lack of
  communications in those days.

  (F) Concluding discussion

     Tropical cyclones have also formed equatorward of 10 degrees in both
  the North and South Indian Oceans, but the cases given above are
  sufficient to establish the fact that while destructive tropical 
  cyclones are very rare in the near-equatorial zone, they can and do 
  occur on infrequent occasions.   One final example of a locale that is
  only rarely affected by intense cyclones is Sri Lanka.    Lying 
  completely south of 10N, the island is not subject to many tropical 
  cyclone strikes.  However, destructive cyclones of hurricane intensity 
  struck Sri Lanka in November, 1978, and December, 2000.  A very low-
  latitude tropical cyclone (TC-11A) formed near 4.0N, 78.8E on
  30 November, 1992, and reached a peak intensity of 50 kts near 5.3N,
  76.8E on 2 December.

     One interesting feature of these low-latitude tropical cyclones is
  the fact that with few exceptions, they occurred during the spring/fall
  transition seasons in the respective hemispheres.  The systems included
  above in the Indonesian and Papua New Guinea area all occurred during
  November/December as the monsoon trough was passing southward on its
  way down to Australia and in April/May as the trough was retreating
  back to the Northern Hemisphere.   The Northwest Pacific instances
  cited also tended to be late in the fall or early in the spring with
  a few out-of-season wintertime occurrences.  

     I would like to extend a very special thanks to Jeff Callaghan for
  sending me the information and for his permission to use it in this
  monthly feature.

                           ACTIVITY BY BASINS

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

  Activity for December:  No tropical cyclones


  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:  2 tropical storms
                          1 typhoon **
                          1 super typhoon

  ** - Classified as a typhoon by JTWC only

  NOTE:  Most of the information on each cyclone's history presented in
  the narrative will be based upon JTWC's advisories, and references to
  winds should be understood as a 1-min avg MSW unless otherwise noted.
  However, in the accompanying tracking document I have made comparisons
  of coordinates with some of the Asian warning centers when their
  positions differed from JTWC's by usually 40-50 nm or more.  A special
  thanks to Michael V. Padua, owner of the Typhoon 2000 website, for
  sending me the PAGASA and JMA tracks.   Also, a special thanks to
  Huang Chunliang of Fuzhou City, China, for sending me tracks based on
  warnings from the National Meteorological Center of China (NMCC), the
  Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), and the Central Weather Bureau of
  Taiwan (CWBT).

     In the title line for each storm I plan to reference 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 responsibility.

            Northwest Pacific Tropical Activity for December

     The Northwest Pacific basin experienced an active month of December
  to close out 2001.  Four tropical cyclones developed--two reached
  typhoon strength.  One of these, Faxai, was the strongest typhoon of
  the year with JTWC estimating the peak intensity at 155 kts.  Faxai
  spent an unusual amount of time very deep in the tropics during its
  formative stages, remaining within 100 nm of the island of Kosrae for
  several days.  One of the tropical storms, 31W, was carried operation-
  ally as the early portion of Faxai, but during post-storm analysis it
  was determined that Faxai had developed from another distinct circu-
  lation in the monsoon trough.  Faxai was then renumbered 33W.  This
  very intense typhoon posed a very serious threat to the Marianas
  Islands, but fortunately recurved just east of the northern islands
  in the group.

     Earlier in the month weak Tropical Storm Kajiki/Quedan had moved
  through the Philippines into the South China Sea where it dissipated.
  Finally, one of the most unusual tropical cyclones ever observed
  developed the day after Christmas east of Singapore.  This system,
  named Vamei, accomplished the incredible (and heretofore considered
  impossible) feat of reaching typhoon intensity only 90 nm from the

                     ADDENDUM to November Summary

     Shortly after posting the November summary, I received some 
  additional information on Typhoon Lingling from Ms. Duong Lien Chau
  of the Hydromet Service of Vietnam.  According to their hourly surface
  observations, Lingling made landfall between Tuy Hoa (13.1N, 109.3E)
  and Quy Nhon (13.8N, 109.2E) at about 2100 UTC on 11 November 2001.
  At Tuy Hoa the maximum sustained winds measured were 62 kts with
  peak gusts of 70 kts recorded.  (I presume the wind averaging period
  was 10 minutes.)  The minimum pressure observed was 981 mb.  The storm
  weakened very rapidly after making landfall.  (A special thanks to
  Ms. Duong for sending me the information.)

            Tropical Storm Kajiki  (TC-30W / TS 0124 / Quedan)
                             4 - 9 December

  Kajiki: contributed by Japan, is the spearfish

  Quedan: PAGASA name--meaning uncertain in the context of a tropical
          cyclone identifier.  (The word "quedan" is the third person
          plural, present tense form of the Spanish verb "quedar",
          which means "to stay" or "to remain".)

  A. Storm Origins

     An area of convection developed about 550 nm south of Guam on
  2 December.  Animated satellite imagery depicted improving organization
  of the convection, QuikScat data indicated the existence of a broad
  LLCC, and a 200-mb analysis revealed that the disturbance lay under
  a region of weak to moderate shear.   The system moved slowly to the
  west, and by 0600 UTC on 3 December was located approximately 600 nm
  west-southwest of Guam.  At 04/0100 UTC JTWC issued an interim STWO
  upgrading the development potential to fair.   Multi-spectral imagery
  indicated improving organization of the LLCC and upper-level conditions
  were somewhat favorable for development.  PAGASA initiated warnings on
  the system at 04/0000 UTC when it was located roughly 250 nm northwest
  of Palau, naming it Tropical Depression Quedan.

     By 0600 UTC Quedan had moved to a position about 250 nm east of the
  island of Samar in the Philippines.  Multi-spectral imagery depicted
  deep convection forming in convergent northeasterlies associated with
  the LLCC.  The system at the time lay equatorward of an upper-level
  ridge axis.  At 1100 UTC JTWC issued a TCFA for the system, and at
  1200 UTC PAGASA upgraded it to Tropical Storm Quedan, located about
  200 nm east of Samar.  JTWC issued their first warning on TD-30W at
  0000 UTC on the 5th, placing the center only about 60 nm off the north-
  eastern tip of Mindanao, moving westward at 11 kts.  (JTWC's JMV file
  now begins the depression stage at 04/0600 UTC.)  At 05/0600 UTC the
  center of Quedan was located near Leyte Island and was moving west-
  northwestward at 14 kts.  CI estimates were 30 and 35 kts, and JMA
  upgraded the system to Tropical Storm Kajiki at this time.  JTWC
  upgraded Kajiki/Quedan to tropical storm status at 1200 UTC when the
  center was in the vicinity of Cebu and Negros islands.  CI estimates
  were 35 kts and convective banding was pronounced in the northern semi-
  circle.  (NMCC had also upgraded the system to tropical storm status
  at 05/0600 UTC when Japan did, but Hong Kong did not upgrade Kajiki
  to a tropical storm until 0600 UTC on 7 December.)

  B. Track and Intensity History

     JTWC temporarily downgraded Kajiki/Quedan to a tropical depression
  at 05/1800 UTC based on CI estimates of 25 and 35 kts.  None of the
  other warning centers did so, although HKO was still treating the
  system as a depression.   Satellite intensity estimates had risen a
  little by 06/0000 UTC, so JTWC re-upgraded Kajiki to tropical storm
  status.  The cyclone's center by that time was over the Sulu Sea and
  tracking westward 11 kts, being steered by a mid-level ridge extending
  westward from the Philippine Sea over the South China Sea.  By 1800
  UTC Tropical Storm Kajiki was centered near the Calamian group, or
  about 200 nm south-southwest of Manila.  The storm's track through
  the central Philippines was very similar to that taken by Tropical
  Storm Lingling/Nanang about a month earlier.

     Kajiki continued to move westward and west-northwestward across the
  South China Sea on 7 November.  The system began to slowly weaken under
  unfavorable shearing aloft.   The center had become partially-exposed
  by 07/0000 UTC, and by 1200 UTC was completely exposed with convection
  decoupled well to the north of the vortex center.  Kajiki's center was
  located about 365 nm east of Nha Trang, Vietnam, at the time.  CI
  estimates were running around 30 to 35 kts.  JTWC downgraded the storm
  to tropical depression status at 08/0000 UTC when it was centered
  about 265 nm east of Nha Trang.  The other TCWCs, however, were still
  classifying Kajiki as a tropical storm (the system had already moved
  out of PAGASA's AOR).  At 08/1200 UTC satellite imagery depicted a
  fully-exposed LLCC with deep convection sheared to the northwest.
  The MSW was lowered to 25 kts at 08/1800 UTC based on CI estimates of
  25 kts, and JTWC issued their final warning on Kajiki at 09/0000 UTC,
  placing the center approximately 145 nm east-northeast of Nha Trang,
  drifting west-southwestward at 2 kts.  The Asian warning centers had
  also by this time downgraded the system and terminated warnings.

  C. Comparisons Between JTWC and Other Centers

     There was not a wide spread in intensity estimates for Tropical
  Storm Kajiki.  The highest MSW value assigned to the storm by JTWC,
  NMCC and HKO was only 35 kts, and at the threshold of tropical storm
  intensity, the difference between a 1-min avg MSW and 10-min avg MSW
  is very slight.   JMA did estimate the 10-min avg MSW to be 40 kts
  at 05/1800 UTC, but 35 kts at all other times.  PAGASA was the most
  liberal with Kajiki/Quedan's winds, estimating the MSW (10-min avg)
  at 45 kts from 05/0600 through 07/1200 UTC.  This would be equivalent
  to a 1-min avg MSW of 50 kts.

  D. Meteorological Observations

     Huang Chunliang sent me some rainfall amounts recorded in China's
  Hainan and Guangdong Provinces.  Even though the center of Kajiki
  remained far away from China, these two provinces did record some
  heavy rains associated with the periphery of Kajiki's circulation.
  Several locations on Hainan Dao recorded between 110 and 140 mm of
  rain during the 72 hours ending at 10/2100 UTC.  Three stations
  received in excess of 150 mm:  Lingshui County (172 mm), Qionghai
  City (199 mm), and Qiongzhong County (249 mm).   Xuwen County in
  Guangdong Province recorded 70 mm during the period from 09/0000
  through 10/0000 UTC.

  E. Damage and Casualties

     The heavy rains mentioned above were responsible for agricultural
  losses of 90,570,000 yuan in Hainan Province.  The report for Tropical
  Storm Kajiki/Quedan on JTWC's website indicates that 2 fatalities were
  reported in the Philippines with 6400 persons displaced by the storm.
  I have no other damage or casualty figures available for this cyclone.

                        Tropical Storm  (TC-31W)
                            10 - 13 December

     A STWO issued by JTWC at 1700 UTC on 10 December noted that an area
  of convection had developed and persisted about 140 nm southwest of
  Pohnpei.  Animated satellite imagery and a 200-mb analysis indicated
  unorganized convection in a region of weak to moderate vertical shear.
  A synoptic analysis and concurrent QuikScat data indicated a developing
  LLCC, therefore, the development potential was set to fair.  (While the
  first warning was not issued until 11/1800 UTC, the JMV file begins the
  depression stage at 10/1200 UTC.)  A TCFA was issued at 2000 UTC with
  the LLCC estimated to be approximately 165 nm southwest of Pohnpei,
  drifting west-southwestward at 3 kts.  By 11/0600 UTC the still-broad
  LLCC had moved to a position about 240 nm east-southeast of Chuuk.
  A 200-mb analysis and CIMSS shear products indicated that the LLCC lay
  under a region of weak diffluence.  

     The first JTWC warning on Tropical Depression 31W was issued at
  1800 UTC on 11 December, placing the center about 220 nm east-southeast
  of Chuuk and drifting slowly northward.  The initial warning intensity
  of 25 kts was based upon CI estimates of 25 kts.  However, at 1200 UTC
  the depression was relocated south and east to a position about
  140 nm south-southwest of Pohnpei.  The center had apparently been
  moving eastward at 8 kts during the previous few hours, although the
  warning noted that there were multiple centers within the larger-scale
  LLCC, making it difficult to determine the exact location of the 
  center.  Another relocation was in store for TD-31W--at 12/0600 UTC the
  primary center was placed at a point approximately 150 nm south-
  southeast of Pohnpei.  The exposed center was moving east-northeastward
  at 13 kts.  Convection had developed near this center and it appeared 
  to be better organized, so was considered the dominant circulation.

     At 1200 UTC the MSW was increased slightly to 30 kts based on CI
  estimates of 25 and 30 kts.  The center was then located about 120 nm
  southeast of Pohnpei, moving north-northeastward at 7 kts.  The overall
  organization had improved, and a 12/1038 UTC SSM/I pass revealed a
  well-organized LLCC with deep convection sheared slightly west of the
  center.   By 1800 UTC the cyclone's center was approximately 100 nm
  southeast of Pohnpei and was drifting northward at 3 kts.    Deep
  convection was still cycling in intensity, but CI estimates had reached
  35 kts, so JTWC upgraded TD-31W to tropical storm status.  JMA, which
  had classified the disturbance as a depression beginning at 0000 UTC
  on the 12th, did not upgrade the system to a tropical storm at this
  point.  JMA did assign 30-kt winds (10-min avg) to the depression from
  12/0600 through 13/0000 UTC.

     However, only six hours later, at 13/0000 UTC, JTWC downgraded the
  weak tropical storm to a 25-kt depression.  The center had been
  relocated about 90 nm to the east of the previous warning position, or
  approximately 160 nm east-southeast of Pohnpei, and was moving east-
  northeastward at 10 kts.  The next JTWC warning, at 0600 UTC, yet again
  relocated the center to a point over 100 nm southeast of the 0000 UTC
  position, near the island of Kosrae.     However, based upon post-
  storm analysis, the center which was the subject of the 13/0600 UTC
  warning appears to have been a new center which had developed within
  the surface trough in which TS-31W was moving.  This new LOW center
  subsequently developed into Tropical Storm Faxai, which went on to 
  become the year's most intense super typhoon.  JTWC's Annual Tropical
  Cyclone Report now ends the track of Tropical Storm 31W at 13/0000 UTC
  and begins the track of Faxai--later renumbered 33W--at 13/0600 UTC.

                 Super Typhoon Faxai  (TC-33W / TY 0125)
                             13 - 26 December

  Faxai: contributed by Laos, is a woman's name

  A. Storm Origins

     The circulation which ultimately became Super Typhoon Faxai had its
  origins in a low-latitude monsoon trough in the Caroline Islands.
  Operationally, Tropical Storm 31W and Faxai were considered to be one
  tropical cyclone, but in post-analysis, JTWC determined that the LLCC
  which became Faxai developed as a separate entity from the earlier
  TS-31W.      The JTWC warning on TD-31W at 13/0600 UTC effected a
  relocation of about 100 nm southeast of the 13/0000 UTC warning
  position.  Later analysis showed that a new center had already
  developed in that location near the island of Kosrae prior to the
  dissipation of the LLCC of TD-31W.  Therefore, the history of Faxai
  begins with the 13/0600 UTC warning.  In their Annual Tropical Cyclone
  Report, JTWC renumbered Faxai as TC-33W.

     The system remained in the general vicinity of Kosrae for several
  days.   The operational track coordinates describe a slow eastward
  motion, followed by a westward motion, back and forth, near the 5th 
  parallel.  Likely some of this apparent erratic motion was due to the 
  center's being broad, ill-defined and difficult to locate.  The MSW 
  remained at 25 kts on 13 December, but JTWC upped it to 30 kts at 
  14/0600 UTC based on CI estimates of 30 and 35 kts and the possible 
  development of a banding feature over the western quadrant.  During 
  the 14th the depression remained quasi-stationary roughly 50 nm west 
  of Kosrae.  The system was drifting in a weak steering regime between 
  subtropical northeasterlies and equatorial westerlies.

  B. Track and Intensity History

     JTWC upgraded the depression to a 35-kt tropical storm at 15/0000
  UTC, still located a little over 50 nm west-southwest of Kosrae.  This
  was based on CI estimates of 35 kts.   The system did not strengthen,
  however.  Animated satellite imagery and a 15/0950 UTC SSM/I image
  showed that deep convection near the center remained unorganized and
  sheared.    The cyclone remained in the same general area through
  16 December without any increase in intensity, although CI numbers
  began to inch upward as the system's organization very slowly
  improved.  JMA upgraded the depression to tropical storm status at
  1800 UTC, assigning the name Faxai.

     A very slow generally west-northwestward drift had brought Faxai
  to a point approximately 175 nm east-southeast of Pohnpei by 1800 UTC
  on 17 December.  The storm's organization had improved and CI estimates
  had reached 55 kts, which was the 1800 UTC warning intensity from JTWC.
  Early on the 18th animated satellite imagery depicted a compact system
  with extensive deep convection south of the LLCC associated with con-
  vergent flow.  A 17/2204 UTC SSM/I pass had indicated the early stages
  of eyewall development.    Faxai, however, did not strengthen any
  further, its MSW remaining pegged at 55 kts through 19/0000 UTC.  The
  cyclone had been quasi-stationary early on the 18th, but by 1200 UTC it
  was drifting eastward and at 1800 UTC was located approximately 60 nm
  west-northwest of Kosrae.  The easterlies associated with a narrow
  subtropical ridge and the equatorial westerlies were still playing a
  game of tug-of-war with Tropical Storm Faxai caught in the middle.

     Throughout 19 December the storm remained quasi-stationary once more
  approximately 60-70 nm northwest of Kosrae.    Satellite intensity
  estimates were 65 kts at 19/0000 UTC, so JTWC upped the MSW to 60 kts
  at that time.  However, a weakening trend began during the day as
  shear increased over the cyclone.  A 19/1037 UTC SSM/I pass depicted
  a partially-exposed LLCC with associated deep convection decoupled to
  the west.  Tropical easterlies near 900 m were in excess of 35 kts
  just upstream from the vortex.  This, combined with an increase in the
  upper-level easterlies over the system, had created a shear environ-
  ment.  The JTWC warning at 1800 UTC lowered the MSW to 50 kts, but
  noted that while CI estimates from all agencies were still 55 kts,
  synoptic wind and pressure data indicated that even 50 kts might be
  too high.

     A rather pronounced northwestward motion commenced early on the 20th
  as Faxai came under the steering influence of a mid to upper-level HIGH
  anchored over the Western Pacific.  By 20/1800 UTC the storm had
  reached a point about 115 nm north-northeast of Pohnpei.  The JTWC
  warning issued at 20/0000 UTC was very informative and interesting:
  "Inner-core convection continues to fluctuate with a general weakening
  trend indicated, while the outer band of convection has increased and
  become better defined.  Due to the vertical shear and the increasing
  convection well to the south and southeast of the LLCC, the inner-core
  wind field has expanded and surface pressures have risen.  Wind and
  pressure analyses from the eastern Caroline Islands suggest that Faxai
  may even be weaker (35-40 kts) than what is currently indicated in the
  official JTWC forecast.  However, the intensity was kept slightly
  higher at 45 kts due to the intermittent deep convective bursts that
  have been developing over the LLCC."

     By 0600 UTC, however, Faxai had begun to strengthen again.  The MSW
  was upped to 55 kts based on CI estimates of 55 kts, and animated
  satellite imagery depicted a recent burst of deep convection over the
  vortex center.   By 1800 UTC, intensity estimates from JTWC and AFGWC
  had reached Dvorak T4.0--65 kts.  Based on this and the appearance of
  an intermittent warm spot in satellite imagery, JTWC upgraded Faxai to
  a 65-kt typhoon.  JMA upgraded the storm to typhoon status six hours
  later and NMCC followed suit at 21/0600 UTC.   Typhoon Faxai tracked
  steadily west-northwestward to northwestward on the 21st, reaching a
  point approximately 650 nm southeast of the Marianas Islands by 1800
  UTC.  The cyclone intensified rapidly during the day with winds
  increasing from 75 kts at 0000 UTC to 120 kts at 1800 UTC (per JTWC's
  warnings).  Satellite CI estimates had reached 127 kts (T6.5) by
  1800 UTC, but the MSW was held down a little to allow the wind field
  to "catch up" with the observed satellite signatures.  The upper-level
  ridge north of the typhoon had weakened slightly, resulting in a
  poleward outflow channel favorable for development.  The 1800 UTC
  warning noted that Faxai's eye was 12 nm in diameter.

     Typhon Faxai continued to rapidly deepen, and at 22/0000 UTC the
  MSW was upped to 135 kts, making the storm the year's third super
  typhoon.  The forecast track at this time still carried Faxai through
  the central or northern Marianas Islands by 48 hours, thus posing a 
  very serious Christmastime threat to the islands.  A very favorable 
  upper-level outflow pattern led to yet further strengthening of the 
  system.  Winds were increased to 140 kts at 0600 UTC, and the 1200 UTC 
  warning noted that recent SSM/I passes indicated that the primary 
  banding feature had become even stronger and better defined.  JTWC 
  raised the MSW to 150 kts at 1800 UTC, based on CI estimates of 140 to 
  155 kts, when the cyclone was centered approximately 340 nm east-
  southeast of Saipan.

     Super Typhoon Faxai reached its peak intensity at 0000 UTC on
  23 December when it was located about 240 nm east of Saipan.  The peak
  intensity values assigned by JTWC, JMA and NMCC were 155 kts, 105 kts
  and 130 kts, respectively, but all agreed that the storm was at its
  peak around 23/0000 UTC.  JTWC's peak 1-min avg MSW estimate of 155 kts
  was based on CI estimates of 155 kts (T7.0).  Visible and infrared
  satellite imagery depicted concentric eyewalls with an 8-nm round inner
  eye.  A SSM/I pass at 22/2236 UTC depicted a tightly-wrapped primary
  band and weakening inner eyewall convection.  Gales extended outward
  from the center 160 nm to the northeast and northwest and 110 nm in
  the southern quadrants while the radii of 50-kt winds were 65 nm to the
  north and 45 nm to the south.

     The storm did not remain at its peak for very long--by 0600 UTC the
  small, irregular eye had become cloud-filled and the winds had started
  to come down.  A 23/1122 UTC SSM/I pass revealed that the small
  convective eye seen earlier had been replaced by a ragged banding eye
  feature.  Also, deep convection had begun to erode over the southeast
  quadrant.  By 23/1800 UTC Faxai's center had reached a point roughly
  150 nm northeast of Saipan, still moving northwestward.  Satellite CI
  estimates had dropped to 102 kts and 127 kts, so the MSW was lowered
  to 125 kts--below the threshold of super typhoon intensity.  Animated
  water vapor imagery indicated some dry air entrainment on the western
  side of the storm and transverse banding to the north associated with
  a strong mid-latitude jet.

     Christmas Eve day saw Typhoon Faxai recurve a scant 35 nm east of
  the island of Agrihan in the Marianas while it steadily weakened.
  The MSW was lowered to 115 kts at 24/0000 UTC and had dropped to 95 kts
  by 1800 UTC.  Early in the day a slight increase in deep convection was
  noted, but this proved to be temporary.  By 1800 UTC Faxai was located
  about 190 nm north-northeast of Agrihan and was moving toward the
  north-northeast at 17 kts.  The storm had by this time begun to show
  signs of extratropical transition.  By 0000 UTC on 25 December visible
  satellite imagery showed a significant decrease of deep clouds and
  bands over the western quadrant.  The MSW was lowered to 85 kts and
  continued to decrease throughout the day.   At 1800 UTC JTWC declared
  Faxai to be extratropical about 1300 nm west of Midway Island and
  issued their final warning.  The MSW was estimated at 65 kts and the
  storm was racing east-northeastward at 42 kts.   The final reference
  to Faxai's remnants in JMA's High Seas Bulletins placed the 35-kt
  gale center about 650 nm west-northwest of Midway Island at 1200 UTC
  on 26 December.

  C. Comparisons Between JTWC and Other Centers

     Intensity estimates between JTWC, JMA and NMCC were in fairly good
  agreement during Faxai's long pre-typhoon stage and during its rather
  rapid decline.  NMCC's estimated peak 10-min avg MSW of 130 kts
  compares rather well with JTWC's peak 1-min avg MSW of 155 kts.  JMA's
  peak as usual was much lower, being 105 kts.  Even though NMCC's peak
  intensity compares well with JTWC's, in general their estimates during
  Faxai's most intense phase just prior to and following its peak MSW at
  23/0000 UTC tend to be lower, though somewhat higher than JMA's
  estimates.  Faxai remained completely outside the AORs of Hong Kong,
  the Philippines, and Taiwan.

  D. Damage and Casualties

     No reports of damage or casualties resulting from Super Typhoon
  Faxai have been received.

                     Typhoon Vamei  (TC-32W / TS 0126)
                              26 - 31 December

  Vamei: contributed by Macau, is the laughing thrush--a kind of songbird
         with white feathers around its eyes and which is popular with
         all feeders in Macau

  A. Storm Origins

     An area of convection had developed by 0600 UTC on 25 December
  approximately 200 nm east of Singapore.  Animated visible imagery
  depicted scattered deep convection associated with a weak LLCC while
  a 200-mb analysis indicated that the disturbance was located in a
  region of weak vertical shear.  The Annual Tropical Cyclone Report
  (ATCR) on JTWC's website states that synoptic data and a 850-mb post-
  analysis indicated that the system was spawned by a buffer zone over
  the equator.  By 26/0600 UTC the disturbance was located about 130 nm
  east of Singapore.  Animated visible imagery depicted scattered deep
  convection in convergent flow west of the weak LLCC.  Some synoptic
  data indicated that the circulation might have weakened and moved
  equatorward.  The system remained in a region of diffluent flow
  associated with an upper-level trough.

     JTWC upgraded the development potential to fair at 26/1300 UTC
  with the system located about 120 nm east of Singapore.  Convection
  near the weak LLCC had become more persistent and synoptic data
  indicated that the monsoonal northeasterlies had weakened during the
  previous 12 hours.

  B. Track and Intensity History

     The incipient disturbance began to intensify rapidly late on the
  26th.  JTWC issued their first warning on the system at 27/0000 UTC,
  upgrading it directly to a 45-kt tropical storm located approximately
  75 nm east-northeast of Singapore.  The warning intensity was based
  on CI estimates of 35 kts, a synoptic report of 40 kts, and a QuikScat
  pass at 26/2255 UTC.  A 27/0030 UTC TRMM image indicated that the
  system had intensified rapidly with a 21-nm eye evident in the 
  85 GHz microwave band.  (In their official storm report, JTWC has
  retroactively classified Vamei as a tropical storm at 26/1800 UTC and
  as a tropical depression at 26/1200 UTC.)

     By 27/0600 UTC the cyclone was located about 35 nm northeast of
  Singapore, moving westward at 7 kts.  JMA upgraded the system to a
  40-kt tropical storm, assigning the name Vamei.  JTWC, however,
  upgraded the storm to a typhoon with MSW of 75 kts (1-min avg).  This
  was based on an observation of 75 kts from a U. S. naval ship located
  within the eyewall.  A SSM/I pass at 27/0220 UTC depicted an eye
  approximately 15 nm in diameter with associated deep convection and
  strong winds over the southern semicircle.  Another ship reported wind
  gusts to 105 kts within the southern portion of the eyewall.   Vamei
  was a fairly small, compact typhoon with 50-kt winds confined to a
  radius of 35 nm in the northeastern quadrant and 25 nm elsewhere.
  Gales covered an area 150 nm in diameter.  A visible satellite image
  taken at 27/0530 UTC clearly shows feeder bands from south of the
  equator wrapping into the cyclone.

     Vamei reached tropical storm and typhoon intensity at latitude
  1.5N--only 90 nm from the equator.  The system appeared to break all
  the physical rules in relation to its genesis:  a very small Coriolis
  parameter, if any, and large pressure gradients, all supporting the
  impossibility of a typhoon-strength system in such close proximity
  to the equator.  The preceding statement was taken from JTWC's
  Prognostic Reasoning message issued at 27/1500 UTC, and the author
  goes on to speculate that the winds within the small, intense eyewall
  were likely cyclostrophic in nature.   Vamei has certainly set a new
  record for extremely low-latitude tropical cyclogenesis, breaking the
  previous record held by Typhoon Sarah in March, 1956.

     Typhoon Vamei made landfall in southeastern Malaysia about 30 nm
  northeast of Singapore around 27/0830 UTC.  By 1200 UTC the small storm
  was inland about 20 nm north of Singapore and weakening rapidly.  The
  MSW was estimated at 45 kts based on CI estimates of 40 and 55 kts.
  Also, a ship located over the Strait of Malacca had reported sustained
  winds to 45 kts at 1200 UTC.   The weakening cyclone continued west-
  ward and by 28/0000 UTC was located over the large island of Sumatra.
  JTWC and JMA both downgraded Vamei to a 30-kt tropical depression
  at 0000 UTC.    A satellite CI estimate of 40 kts was received at 
  0600 UTC, but the official MSW remained at 30 kts since the system was
  located over land.   It appeared that upper-level diffluence over the 
  region had contributed to the persistence of deep convection over the 
  vortex center.   JTWC issued their final warning on the depression at 
  1200 UTC with the center still located over Sumatra.

     A STWO issued by JTWC at 29/1800 UTC noted that the area of
  convection associated with the remnants of Vamei had tracked off the
  northwest coast of Sumatra into the extreme southern Bay of Bengal.
  Animated visible imagery indicated that the LLCC had survived the
  trek over land and new deep convection was forming near the center.
  An upper-air analysis indicated that the area was located in a region
  of weak to moderate vertical shear with favorable outflow aloft, so the
  development potential was rated as fair.   By 1800 UTC on 30 December
  the LOW was located approximately 260 nm west of Sumatra and had become
  better organized with a possible banding feature north of the center.
  A recent TRMM pass had revealed low-level banding indicative of at
  least a 25-kt system.   The first warning on Tropical Cyclone 05B was
  issued at 1800 UTC with the MSW estimated at 30 kts.   The system was
  moving west-northwestward at 11 kts underneath an upper-level ridge

     By 31/0600 UTC, TC-05B was located approximately 560 nm east of
  southern Sri Lanka, moving west at 5 kts.  Animated satellite imagery
  indicated an overall improvement in cloud band organization with good
  outflow, and with CI estimates of 30 and 35 kts, the MSW was upped to
  minimal tropical storm intensity of 35 kts.  A mid-level subtropical
  ridge to the north-northeast of the cyclone was providing the steering
  for the westerly course.   At 31/1800 UTC, however, the system appeared
  weaker with a fully-exposed, weak LLCC displaced well to the southwest
  of the associated convection.  Shortly after the initial 1800 UTC
  warning was released, an amended warning was issued, relocating the
  center to a position approximately 150 nm southeast of the initial
  warning location.  The MSW was lowered to 30 kts, and with moderate
  to strong upper-level southwesterlies overlying the region, the system
  was forecast to track westward and dissipate by the end of the fore-
  cast period.  The amended 1800 UTC warning was the final one from JTWC.

  (Note:  Since the cyclogenesis in the Bay of Bengal was determined in
  post-analysis to have been a re-intensification of the same low-level
  circulation which had formerly been Typhoon Vamei, this phase of the
  cyclone's history is now considered to be a continuation of Tropical
  Cyclone 32W and its designation as TC-05B has been struck from JTWC's

  C. Comparisons Between JTWC and Other Centers

     A major discrepancy exists between JTWC and JMA regarding the peak
  intensity of Vamei.  The peak 10-min avg MSW assigned to the storm by
  JMA was 40 kts, which corresponds to a Dvorak CI number of T3.0.  (This
  was the highest CI number assigned to Vamei that I am aware of.)
  Furthermore, Huang Chunliang passed along a couple of warnings, one
  issued at 27/0300 UTC by the Meteorological Service of Singapore and
  the other issued at 27/0000 UTC by the Malaysian Meteorological Service,
  in which the system was referred to as a tropical depression.  Clearly
  the basis for JTWC's classification of the system as a typhoon were the
  ship reports received by that agency which were not available in real
  time to the other warning centers.   Microwave imagery did reveal the
  presence of an eye, but as there is not yet a validated intensity
  classification scheme for microwave imagery analogous to the Dvorak
  scale for visible and infrared imagery, many forecasters are reluctant
  to use it for estimating tropical cyclone intensity.

  D. Damage and Casualties

     The author has learned of no damage or casualties resulting from
  this small, fascinating, unique typhoon.


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

  Activity for December:  1 tropical cyclone of gale intensity **

  ** - System was redevelopment of NWP Typhoon Vamei

            North Indian Ocean Tropical Activity for December

     The only tropical cyclone in the North Indian Ocean basin during
  December was a weak tropical storm which was a re-intensification of
  former Typhoon Vamei (32W).  The Bay of Bengal system operationally
  was numbered Tropical Cyclone 05B, but in post-storm analysis it was
  decided to remove that designation and treat it as a continuation of
  Vamei.  The complete history of Vamei is covered above in the Northwest
  Pacific portion of this summary.


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

  Activity for December:  No tropical cyclones



  Activity for December:  No tropical cyclones


  Activity for December:  No tropical cyclones


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

  Activity for December:  1 tropical depression
                          1 tropical cyclone of gale intensity
                          1 tropical cyclone of hurricane intensity

     Most of the information presented below was taken from operational
  warnings and advisories issued by the Fiji TCWC at Nadi.    References
  to sustained winds should be understood as being based on a 10-minute
  averaging period unless otherwise noted.  Warnings issued by JTWC/NPMOC
  in Hawaii were the source of the 1-minute average MSW values given in
  the accompanying cyclone tracks file and were occasionally used for
  comparison purposes.

     The reports on Tropical Cyclones Vicky and Waka were written by
  Alipate Waqaicelua, Chief Forecaster at the Nadi TCWC, with some
  additional information added by myself.  A very special thanks to
  Alipate for preparing and sending the reports to me (as well as the
  tracks for the cyclones.) 

                South Pacific Tropical Activity for December

     As the month of December opened, weak Tropical Cyclone Trina was
  still on the charts near Rarotonga.  Three tropical depressions
  developed during the month with two receiving names as tropical
  cyclones.  Tropical Depression 02F developed on 8 December just east
  of Fiji and east of the Dateline.    The weak system subsequently
  drifted westward to near Fiji, then southward.  By 1800 UTC on the
  10th it had become basically cold-cored.  It was last mentioned by
  Nadi in a Tropical Disturbance Summary on 15 December.

     The next depression, TD-03F, developed on 19 December but remained
  quite weak for well over a week.     In the meantime, Tropical
  Depression 04F formed and briefly became Tropical Cyclone Vicky
  northwest of Tahiti.  After Vicky's demise, TD-03F began to show signs
  of life again around 26 December and became Tropical Cyclone Waka on
  the 29th.  Waka developed rapidly into a rather severe tropical cyclone
  of hurricane intensity and became the most destructive cyclone to
  strike the Kingdom of Tonga in 20 years.

                     Tropical Cyclone Vicky  (TD-04F)
                             22 - 26 December

     Tropical Cyclone Vicky was a short-lived system, with only 18 hours
  at tropical cyclone status.  It was relatively small and sheared for 
  most of its life.  Tropical Depression 04F was first identified around 
  22 December while located between the Northern and Southern Cooks, as 
  a slow-moving eddy along the active SPCZ.    The disturbance had been 
  subjected to strong southerly shear since its inception which had
  removed any deep convection to the north, but at the same time 
  enhancing the prevailing, unstable monsoonal flow in the northeast 
  quadrant.  By 22/1800 UTC persistent strong convection to the north 
  had induced at least 10-min avg winds to 30 kts generally to the north
  of a developing circulation (as supported by QuikScat data.)

     At 1800 UTC the disturbance was upgraded to Tropical Depression 04F.
  RSMC Nadi then issued its first international marine warning on TD-04F
  while it was a slow-moving system approximately 500 nm north-northeast 
  of Rarotonga or 500 nm northwest of Tahiti.    Subsequent warnings 
  mentioned winds increasing to gale force in an area slightly off the
  LLCC in the northeast quadrant.     By 24/0000 UTC convection was 
  gradually increasing and cooling about the LLCC, prompting Nadi to 
  issue the first Tropical Disturbance Advisory on the system, which was 
  showing good potential of becoming a tropical cyclone within 24 hours. 
  With SSTs of around 28 C, lessening vertical shear and deep convection
  erupting over the LLCC (per SSM/I imagery) as well as along the feeder 
  band to the north, TD-04F was then named Tropical Cyclone Vicky with 
  35-kt winds.  

     However, soon after Vicky was named, strong shear set in again, 
  arresting any further development.  Low-level vorticity also decreased 
  markedly.  Vicky was then slow-moving but expected to drift southward.
  At 25/0000 UTC the minimal cyclone was downgraded to a tropical 
  depression while located about 360 nm north-northeast of Rarotonga or 
  450 nm west-northwest of Tahiti and drifting southward at 5 kts.  
  Further gale warnings were issued on TD-04F (formerly Vicky) until 
  26/1200 UTC for an area of gales in the northeast quadrant, well away
  from the centre.

     No damages were incurred by Tropical Cyclone Vicky, which spent most
  of its life in open seas away from any inhabited island.

     NPMOC did not issue any warnings on Vicky, although a couple of
  TCFA's were issued for the system, the first at 24/0000 UTC and the
  second at 25/0000 UTC.

                  Tropical Cyclone Waka  (TC-07P / TD-03F)
                          19 December - 5 January

  A. Storm Origins

     Tropical Cyclone Waka was the third tropical cyclone of the 2001-
  2002 South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season.  The cyclone formed to the 
  northeast of Wallis Island and initially followed a southwest track, 
  passing close to Wallis before recurving southeastward, passing over 
  Niuafo'ou and later Vava'u in the Kingdom of Tonga.     Waka was a 
  relatively intense and well-behaved tropical cyclone with a peak 
  intensity of about 95 kts (10-minute average). 

     A tropical depression (TD-03F) was first identified, embedded in an 
  active monsoon trough just south of the Solomons Group, or about 300 nm
  northeast of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, around December 18/2100 UTC. 
  It steadily moved southeastward over Fiji, aided by a persistent north-
  west steering, before turning northeastward on the 23rd to eventually 
  become slow-moving about 100 nm to the northeast of Wallis on the 28th.
  From 20/1200 until 22/0600 UTC, RSMC Nadi issued international marine 
  warnings on TD-03F for an area of gales slightly away from the centre,
  towards the northeast.   These were resumed at 26/2136 UTC when it was
  evident that overall development was steadily occurring.  The first 
  Tropical Disturbance Advisory on this system was issued around 27/0230
  UTC, forecasting a moderate to high potential for attaining tropical
  cyclone status within the next 24 to 48 hours.  SSTs were 30 C, shear
  was steadily decreasing, and low-level vorticity was persistent. 
  Effectively, TD-03F's environment favourably supported further develop-
  ment, which was considered very likely to be rapid.  At 29/0500 UTC 
  TD-03F was named Tropical Cyclone Waka with winds of gale intensity,
  located about 140 nm to the northeast of Wallis Island.

  B. Track and Intensity History

     A noticeable feature on the CIMSS website was that the shear was
  steadily decreasing, especially in the region immediately to the south
  of the cyclone.   (This region of shear minima was depicted as moving
  with Waka as it accelerated further southward).   As a consequence,
  Waka intensified rapidly as it started moving southwestward, reaching
  storm intensity around 29/1200 UTC.  By this time a mid-level ridge to
  the southeast of the cyclone was getting established and intensifying.
  As anticipated, the steering field also turned northerly, thus nudging
  Waka southward to pass very close to Wallis Island as it accelerated
  slightly.  Turning farther toward the south-southeast, the cyclone 
  passed over Niuafo'ou around 30/2100 UTC, reaching hurricane intensity
  three hours later, at 31/0000 UTC.  

     Tropical Cyclone Waka steadily intensified as it assumed a south-
  easterly track, accelerating further under strengthening steering which
  was enhanced by an approaching upper-level trough from the west.  The
  cyclone passed over Vava'u around 31/1200 UTC and maintained a steady
  southeasterly track, passing about 200 nm to the southwest of Niue at
  31/1800 UTC at its peak intensity of 95 kts (10-min avg).   Primary 
  responsibility for warnings on Waka was handed over to RSMC Wellington,
  New Zealand, after January 01/0900 UTC as the cyclone was expected to
  enter their area of warning responsibility by 01/1200 UTC.

     Tropical Cyclone Waka entered the Wellington AOR, still at hurricane
  intensity, at 01/1200 UTC at a point about 550 nm west-southwest of
  Rarotonga.   The system, however, was beginning to weaken rapidly, and
  was downgraded to storm intensity on the second Wellington warning.
  Waka was classified as an extratropical storm at 02/0500 UTC when
  located approximately 700 nm southwest of Rarotonga.  The former
  tropical cyclone continued to trek south-southeastward over the next
  two or three days and was still kicking up gale-force winds on the
  5th far to the south of the Cook Islands.

  C. Comparsions Between Fiji and NPMOC

     Intensity estimates for Tropical Cyclone Waka between Fiji and
  NPMOC compared rather well.  Actually, Nadi's estimated peak 10-min
  avg MSW of 95 kts corresponds to a 1-min avg MSW of 105 kts, whereas
  the peak intensity estimated by NPMOC was 100 kts.  This is good
  agreement, but more often than not, other TCWC's intensities are
  lower than JTWC/NPMOC's for intense storms.   NPMOC's MSW estimates
  also tended to run a little lower than Fiji's during Waka's decaying

  D. Meteorological Observations

     As the center of Waka was approaching Wallis Island at 2300 UTC on
  29 December, a radio report from New Caledonia indicated that wind
  gusts had reached 68 kts and waves were 7 metres high.   Conditions
  were worsening as the center of the cyclone approached.  (This infor-
  mation from Patrick Hoareau--a special thanks to Patrick for sending
  it along.)

     Steve Ready of the New Zealand Meteorological Service has sent me
  some wind and pressure observations from the islands of Tonga.  (A
  special thanks to Steve for sending me this information.)

  Station Name (ID)   Dir/Max 10-min Avg/Time      Max Gust     Min Press
                      (degrees - kts - UTC)         (kts)         (hPa)

  Niuafo'ou (91772)    080 / 90 kts / 301600         100          964.0
  Keppel (91776)       080 / 70 kts / 301700          90          994.7
  Vava'u (91779)       220 / 75 kts / 311500         120          960.0
  Ha'apai (91784)      170 / 32 kts / 311500          66          979.0
  Tongatapu (91792)    130 / 30 kts / 311600          45          999.1

  (Note: Steve indicates that the maximum 10-min sustained wind values
  from Niuafo'ou and Keppel are likely too high but that the peak gusts
  are correct.)

     Some press reports indicated that wind gusts to 135 kts were
  experienced in parts of Tonga, but this is likely an estimate.

  E. Damage and Casualties

     Damage was minimal in the Wallis and Futuna Group, according to
  preliminary reports received from Wallis Island.     One house was 
  destroyed on Wallis, but about 50% of the banana plantations were 
  destroyed.  Villages along the western coast of Niue experienced sea 
  spray to 100 metres inland.    The Niue Meteorological Service has 
  confirmed that the highest surge was 8 metres.   Felled and uprooted 
  coconut and other trees blocked roads.  A fallen tree snapped power 
  lines to the Telecoms transmitting station, airport area and part of 
  Alofi South, leaving these areas without power for approximately six 

     It was the Kingdom of Tonga, however, which felt the wrath of Waka
  most fully.  The cyclone was the most destructive to visit Tonga
  since Tropical Cyclone Isaac in March, 1982, and ranks alongside
  that storm and Tropical Cyclone Flora in March, 1961, in its destruc-
  tive effects.  Vava'u was the worst hit of the Tonga island groups.
  Over 90% of crops were destroyed, including commercial crops such as
  vanilla and kava, and essential food crops such as taro, yam, banana,
  mango, coconut and breadfruit.   A major food shortage was expected
  with press reports indicating the likelihood that the islands would be
  dependent upon food aid for a period of six months.

     Schools, dwelling houses and other buildings were heavily damaged.
  In the Vava'u group about 320 homes were severely damaged or destroyed
  and 300-400 more partially damaged.   Jetties were damaged and many
  small boats sunk.  Electricity and communications were also disrupted
  due to fallen power poles and electric lines.   Water supply systems
  became inoperable since they depend upon electric pumps.  Fortunately,
  no deaths were reported in the Vava'u group.

     The only death known to have resulted from Tropical Cyclone Waka
  occurred in the Ha'apai group, located to the south of Vava'u.  A
  38-year old woman died, likely from a heart attack, in transit to
  a hospital when the route became blocked with fallen trees.  Ha'apai
  also experienced significant damage from the cyclone.  The islands of
  Niuatoputapu and Niuafo'ou suffered relatively light structural damage,
  but most crops were destroyed on those islands also, leaving the
  populace with only about 10 days food supply.

     The total monetary damage estimate in Tonga was 104.2 million
  Tongan pa'anga, equivalent to $51.3 million U. S. dollars.   About
  67% of the damage was to homes and other buildings, and approximately
  19% of the total losses were agricultural.  More information on the
  effects of Tropical Cyclone Waka can be found at the following


                              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
  in the following manner:

       (a) FTP to: []
       (b) Login as: anonymous
       (c) For a password use your e-mail address
       (d) Go to "data" subdirectory (Type: cd data)
       (e) Set file type to ASCII (Type: ascii)
       (f) Transfer file (Type: get remote_file_name local_file_name )
           (The files will be named with an obvious nomenclature--using
           December as an example:   dec01.tracks)
       (g) To exit FTP, type: quit

    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.   If anyone wishes to retrieve any of the previous summaries,
  they may be downloaded from the aforementioned FTP site at HRD.  The
  summary files are catalogued with the nomenclature:  dec01.sum, for

    Back issues can also be obtained from the following websites
  (courtesy of Michael Bath, Michael V. Padua, Tom Berg, Michael
  Pitt, and Rich Henning):>> OR>>>>

  NOTE:  The URL for Michael V. Padua's Typhoon 2000 website has

     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 2001 (2000-2001 season for the Southern
  Hemisphere).  ATCRs for earlier years are available also.

     The URL is:>

     Also, TPC/NHC has available on its webpage nice "technicolor"
  tracking charts for the 2001 Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific
  tropical cyclones; also, preliminary storm reports for all the 2001
  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 Wollongbar, New South Wales,
  Australia, for assisting me with proofreading the summaries.

  Prepared by: Gary Padgett
  E-mail:  [email protected]
  Phone:  334-222-5327 (nights & weekends) / 850-882-2594 (weekdays)


Document: summ0112.htm
Updated: 27th December 2006

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