Remembering: Cyclone Percy


Today we commemorate the 15th anniversary of Cyclone Percy and it’s Category 5-equivalent peak intensity in the South Pacific ocean basin on this day, March 2nd. While not very damaging compared to other cyclones (though it was still very devastating for the islands of Swains, Tokelau and Cook) nor deadly, Percy was one of the most intense tropical cyclones ever to exist in the Southern Hemisphere.

Track of Cyclone Percy

Percy formed on February 24, 2005 while a good distance north of the American Samoan Islands where it had intensified at varying rates into a Category 4 equivalent-cyclone before weakening to a Category 3 temporarily on February 27. It began to intensify again as it assumed a southward motion, eventually reaching a peak intensity of 165 mph or 145 knots with a minimum central pressure of 900 mb on March 2, 2005. Percy would maintain that intensity for 18 hours before weakening increasingly in the 2 days leading up to it’s Extratropical transition on March 4 before having fully dissipated the next day.

Percy on March 2 at 0534 UTC while peaking. HURSAT Image

Percy would knock out communications and power on Swains Island and any attempts made to re-establish them had failed for a whole week. Even though the eight residents who rode out the storm survived with no problems, many buildings were either damaged or destroyed. 80% of structures on Nokonunu were damaged with a school destroyed and the hospital completely lost any sort of power with their emergency generator being overwhelmed by flooding. Powerlines and trees were knocked down in Tokelau. 640 people were also left homeless in the Cook Islands. There were no reported deaths and damages are unknown.

Force Thirteen estimates on Percy

Other facts:

  • 10-minute sustained peak winds of 145 mph (125 knots)
  • No Fatalities
  • Unknown Damages
  • The official listed peak is 160 mph (140 knots) and 900 mb

Force Thirteen is also providing more updates on other storms around the world on their youtube channel, facebook and twitter accounts.

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