February 23rd, 2009

2008 Northwest Pacific Tropical Cyclone Review

Posted at 12:45 AM ET

Dr. Rebecca Cheetham, Instrat®

The Northwest Pacific typhoon season runs throughout the entire year, but the main season tends to occur between July and November, with peak activity in late August and early September. According to the Guy Carpenter Asia Pacific Climate Impact Centre (GCACIC), the 2008 season was considered to be relatively inactive, with the total numbers of tropical storms being below average (see Figure 1). The 2008 season saw the formation of a total of 22 named tropical storms (four more were considered as having attained tropical storm intensity by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, but no name was given by the Tokyo Regional Specialised Meteorological Center, RSMC), of which there were 12 typhoons and five major typhoons.1

The 2008 Northwest Pacific season was unusual in that it was the first since 1984 that no tropical cyclone made landfall on the Japanese mainland.

Taiwan was hit by four typhoons during the 2008 Northwest Pacific season. Kalmaegi, Fung-Wong, Sinlaku and Jangmi affected northern and eastern parts of the island. The aggregate economic damage to Taiwan from these four systems has been estimated to be more than USD1 billion.

Typhoon Neoguri made landfall in the Guangdong Province of China in April, becoming the earliest typhoon to hit the province during the last 50 years. Typhoon Hagupit struck the same province in September, making it the first Category 4 typhoon to come ashore in Guangdong. Hagupit was the most damaging typhoon of the 2008 season, causing an estimated USD1 billion in economic damage.

Three typhoons struck the Philippines in 2008 - Nuri, Halong and Fengshen. Of these, Typhoon Fengshen killed more than 1,300 people, making it one of the top 10 deadliest typhoons to strike the Philippines.

Additional Contributor:


  1. Verification of Forecasts of Tropical Cyclone Activity over the Western North Pacific in 2008, January 2009, http://www.cityu.edu.hk/gcacic/2008_verification.htm.

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