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10/12/2013

Super Typhoon Tip: The Strongest Storm Ever!

On October 12th, 1979 a storm churning over the Western Pacific Ocean grew to epic proportions for both intensity and size.

Typhoon_tip_peakTyphoon Tip at its record peak intensity on October 12, 1979

On that date, Super Typhoon Tip's central pressure dropped to an astonishing 870 mb (25.69 inches Hg), the lowest sea level pressure ever recorded on Earth!  

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, peak winds reached and incredible 190 mph (305 kph)!!  

731px-Typhoon_Tip_fullGlobal satellite image of Typhoon Tip near peak strength and Typhoon Sarah striking Vietnam on the left.

A total of 40 U.S. Air Force aircraft reconnaissance missions flew into Typhoon Tip, making it one of the most closely monitored tropical cyclones to date, according to a post-analysis written by George Dunnavan and John Diercks.

The 870 minimum central pressure was six millibar lower than anything previously recorded (Super Typhoon June had a pressure of 876 mb in 1975) and is 12 millbar lower than any Atlantic Hurricane including Wilma's 882 mb recorded in 2005.

Earths-strongest-most-massive-storm-ever_2

Fortunately, Typhoon Tip slowly weakened before making landfall in southern Japan on Oct. 19th. However, the typhoon was still the most intense storm to hit Japan's main island in more than a decade. Tip claimed the lives of 86 people and injured hundreds of others.

Uf_typhooon_tipsPath of Super Typhoon Tip with storm statistics.  Image credit: AccuWeather

Not only did Super Typhoon Tip shatter world records for intensity, it was also a massive storm with a diameter of circulation spanning approximately 1,380 miles, making it the largest tropical cyclone ever measured!  The size almost doubled the previous record of 700 miles set by Typhoon Marge in August 1951.  

To put this into perspective, if Tip would have struck the US, it would have encompassed half the country!

Earths-strongest-most-massive-storm-ever_3Size comparison of Tip with respect to the United States.  Image credit: AccuWeather

One more interesting point to note about this storm, at its strongest, the temperature inside the eye of the storm was 86°F or 30°C and although they don't officially keep records for this sort of thing, it has been described as exceptionally high.

Here's a YouTube Video of Satellite Loop showing the lifespan of the storm.   

 

It was a scary storm to say the least!  Sure hope we don't have to see anything like that again soon.  

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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