Notable Storms of the Past

Notability can be measured in many different ways, when it comes to tropical cyclones. Many parameters and means of grading a storm’s impact, intensity, and the facts of climatology can all be argued for or against individual cases.

  • Peak Intensity – Usually, when applied to tropical cyclones, intensity refers to the storm’s central pressure, with a lower pressure denoting a more intense cyclone. The most intense storms by basin are Typhoon Tip (1979, W. Pacific, 868mb), Hurricane Patricia (2015, E. Pacific, 871mb), Hurricane Wilma (2005, N. Atlantic, 878mb), Cyclone Zoe (2002, S. Pacific, 890mb), Cyclone One (1833, N. Indian, 891mb), Cyclone Gafilo (2004, S. Indian, 895mb) and Cyclone Monica (2006, Australia, 897mb).
  • Maximum wind – The maximum wind speed contained inside a storm, sustained for a 1-minute period. In most instances, these are estimates from satellite, extrapolations from airplanes, or on rare occasions, actual land observations which are the most reliable of the three. The strongest storms by this measure by basin are Typhoon Nancy (1961, W. Pacific, 215mph), Hurricane Patricia (2015, E. Pacific, 208mph), Hurricane Wilma (2005, N. Atlantic, 199mph), Cyclone Monica (2006, Australia, 185mph), Cyclone Fantala (2016, S. Indian, 180mph), and three Cyclones – Dani, Zoe and Winston in the South Pacific (180mph)
  • Deadliest – The bottom line to a storm’s impact is how many people were lost to its effects. The highest totals by basin are the Bhola Cyclone (1970, N. Indian, 500,000), the Haiphong Typhoon (1881, W. Pacific, 300,000), the Great Hurricane (1780, N. Atlantic, 26,500), Hurricane Paul (1982, E. Pacific, 2,364), Cyclone Seven (1892, S. Indian, 900), the Apia Cyclone (1889, S. Pacific, 147), and Cyclone 21 (1935, Australia, 141)
  • Costliest – The figure that economically minded observers resort to, however due to inflation these numbers aren’t necessarily the best notability parameters when comparing to older storms. The highest totals by basin are Hurricane Katrina (2005, N. Atlantic, $108bn), Typhoon Fitow (2013, W. Pacific, $10.4bn), Cyclone Nargis (2008, N. Indian, $10bn), Hurricane Manuel (2013, E. Pacific, $4.2bn), Cyclone Yasi (2011, S. Pacific, $2.5bn), Cyclone Oswald (2013, Australia, $2.4bn), and Cyclone Gafilo (2004, S. Indian, $250m).
  • Buildings damaged/destroyed – A figure that tells more about total damage caused than that of the monetary figure, due to the disparity between world economies and wealth within countries. The highest amounts by basin are the Bangladesh Cyclone (1991, N. Indian, 2,000,000), Typhoon Vera (1959, W. Pacific, 1,205,152), Hurricane Ike (2008, N. Atlantic, 493,750),  Hurricane Pauline (1997, E. Pacific, 155,000), Cyclone Geralda (1994, S. Indian, 140,000), Cyclone Pam (2015, S. Pacific, 21,000), Cyclone Orson (1989, Australia, 320).
  • Storms of historical importance – Storms may also be deemed notable if they were the first to achieve a certain parameter, or if the storm agency began a new process with the storm (for example, the first storm to be named, or the first storm to make landfall in a particular location).