Typhoon Cora (1966)

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Typhoon Cora
Category 5 super typhoon (SSHWS)
Satellite image by Nimbus (September 1st, 1966)
FormedAugust 28, 1966
DissipatedSeptember 7, 1966
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 280 km/h (175 mph)
Lowest pressure918 hPa (mbar); 27.11 inHg

Typhoon Cora, as known as the 2nd Miyakojima Typhoon (第2宮古島台風) in Japan, [1] [2] was a typhoon struck the Ryūkyū Islands in 1966.


Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Cora 1966 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

At 18 UTC on August 28, a tropical depression formed just to the east of the Northern Mariana Islands. Although initially drifting southeast, the depression began curving to the southwest early the next day. Late on August 29, it passed over the south tip of Guam and over the Cocos Lagoon. [3] Early on August 30, the depression slowed its course and began a gentle turn to the west-northwest. By 00 UTC on August 31, the depression attained tropical storm intensity and started moving northwest. Steadily strengthening as it did so, Tropical Storm Cora attained typhoon intensity by 00 UTC on September 1. At that time, Typhoon Cora began a period of rapid deepening: its central pressure dropped 45 millibars (1.3  inHg ) in 24 hours, from 970 mb (28.6 inHg) to 925 mb (27.3 inHg). In the same period, between 00 UTC on September 1–2, Typhoon Cora increased its maximum sustained wind speed from 85 miles per hour (137  km/h ) to 145 mph (233 km/h). [4] Having intensified significantly, Typhoon Cora progressively decreased its forward speed and bent back to the west-northwest over the next 36 hours. During this period, Typhoon Cora attained peak winds equal to those of a minimal Super Typhoon on the Joint Typhoon Warning Center's classification scale. At 12 UTC on September 3, it turned to the west and maintained its wind speed of 150 mph (240 km/h) for another 24 hours. Late on September 4, Typhoon Cora began yet another turn to the west-northwest and intensified into what is equivalent of a Category 5 typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale; however, the classification did not exist until the scale was first devised in the 1970s and then used retroactively to rate past storms. [4] Just before midnight UTC on September 5, Typhoon Cora passed only 5 miles (8.0  km ) southwest of Miyakojima Island, its northern eyewall impacting the island for several hours. During this pass, the central pressure in Typhoon Cora dropped to 918 mb (27.1 inHg), the lowest observed in its life span. [3] However, Typhoon Cora did not reach its maximum wind speed of 175 mph (282 km/h) for another 12 hours, until 12 UTC on September 5. [4]

After peaking at this intensity, Typhoon Cora continued moving west-northwest toward mainland China; around midnight UTC on September 6, its eye passed 20 mi (32 km) southwest of the Senkaku Islands. Between 12 UTC on September 5 and 00 UTC on September 6, Typhoon Cora briefly fluctuated in intensity, its winds alternating between 160–175 mph (257–282 km/h); however, it generally maintained its intensity and remained at Category 5 intensity for one more day, until 00 UTC on September 7, after a total of 42 hours spent at that level. [4] Sometime before midnight UTC on September 7, Typhoon Cora made landfall on Fujian province, China, [3] with estimated sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h), making it the only Category 5 typhoon to make landfall in the People's Republic of China. [5] After making landfall, Typhoon Cora quickly lost typhoon intensity and curved to the northeast. It passed near Jinhua, Hangzhou, and Suzhou; by the time it was nearest Suzhou, it was already a remnant low. On September 8, the remnant low turned to the northeast, over the East China Sea, and approached the Korean Peninsula. Shortly after 06 UTC on September 9, it struck South Chungcheong Province in the Republic of Korea. Dissipation took place inland, six hours later. [3]

Preparations and impact

Significant typhoons with special names
(from the Japan Meteorological Agency)
NameNumberJapanese name
Marie T5415Toyamaru Typhoon(洞爺丸台風)
Ida T5822Kanogawa Typhoon(狩野川台風)
Sarah T5914Miyakojima Typhoon(宮古島台風)
Vera T5915Isewan Typhoon(伊勢湾台風)
Nancy T61182nd Muroto Typhoon(第2室戸台風)
Cora T66182nd Miyakojima Typhoon(第2宮古島台風)
Della T68163rd Miyakojima Typhoon(第3宮古島台風)
Babe T7709Okinoerabu Typhoon(沖永良部台風)
Faxai T1915Reiwa 1 Bōsō Peninsula Typhoon(令和元年房総半島台風)
Hagibis T1919Reiwa 1 East Japan Typhoon(令和元年東日本台風)
Reference: [6]
Cora (September 4) 1966 Sep 4 Cora.png
Cora (September 4)

As the typhoon approached Okinawa Island, flights to the island were cancelled for five days, stranding about 1,000 U.S. Marines in South Vietnam. The Marines were due to arrive on Okinawa, their staging area, but instead were sent to a camp in Da Nang, part of South Vietnamese territory in 1966. [7]

In the southern Ryukyu Islands, Typhoon Cora was considered the most destructive typhoon in at least 75 years. There, the powerful winds and waves of the storm destroyed 520 homes on the islands of Miyakojima and Ishigaki. The worst damage occurred on Miyakojima; the storm also damaged 1,400 homes, leaving 2,363 people homeless. [8] On the island, a Japanese weather observatory recorded sustained winds of 118 knots (136  mph ) (60.8 m/s (219 km/h)), with a peak gust of 166 kn (191 mph) (85.3 m/s (307 km/h)). [9] The peak gust is still the official highest wind speed ever recorded in Japan. The lowest pressure on Miyakojima island, 928.9 mb (27.43 inHg), was recorded at 10:01 a.m. local time on September 5. [10] In all, 296.1 millimetres (11.66  in ) of rain fell during Typhoon Cora. [11] Additionally, up to five five-ton ships were destroyed and four others reported damaged. [8] The powerful storm, while at peak intensity near Miyakojima, also destroyed one of two radar bases there, and significant damage to crops was reported; [12] later estimates indicated 70% of the sugar cane on the island was destroyed. [9] Total losses on Miyakojima and Ishigaki reached $30 million (1966 USD). [13]

Slowly moving by the southern Ryukyu Islands, [1] Cora battered the region for more than 30 hours. Miyako-jima suffered the brunt of the typhoon's impact; sustained winds on the island reached 219 km/h (136 mph) while gusts peaked at 307 km/h (191 mph). This placed Cora as a greater than 1-in-100 year event in the region. Winds of least 144 km/h (89 mph) battered Miyako-jima for 13 continuous hours. Of the 11,060 homes on Miyako-jima, 1,943 were destroyed and a further 3,249 severely damaged. The majority of these were wooden structures whose structures were compromised once their roof was torn off. Steel structures also sustained considerable damage while reinforced concrete buildings fared the best. The resulting effects rendered 6,000 residents homeless. The scale of damage varied across the island with Ueno-mura suffering the most extensive losses. Of the community's 821 homes, 90.1 percent was severely damaged or destroyed. A United States Air Force radar station was destroyed on the island. On nearby Ishigaki Island, where wind gusts reached 162 km/h (101 mph), 71 homes were destroyed while a further 139 were severely damaged. Total losses from Cora in the region reached $30 million. Despite the severity of damage, no fatalities took place and only five injuries were reported.

On nearby Taiwan (then called Formosa), Typhoon Cora produced strong winds along the north coast of the island. Peak winds in Taipei reached 70 mph (110 km/h). [14] Wind gusts up to 130 km/h (80 mph) caused notable damage in Taiwan, with 17 homes destroyed and 42 more damaged. A smaller island closer to the storm reported a peak gust of 226 km/h (140 mph). Heavy rains were generally confined to northern areas of the island, peaking at 405 mm (15.9 in). Three people were killed during Cora's passage while seventeen others sustained injury. Additionally, 5,000 persons were evacuated. Damage amounted to NT$4.2 million. Striking Fujian Province, China, on the heels of Typhoon Alice, Cora exacerbated damage in the region. Property damage was extreme with more than 21,000 homes destroyed and nearly 63,000 more damage. An estimated 265,000 people were severely affected by the storm. A total of 269 people perished during the storm while a further 2,918 were injured; 52 people were also listed missing. Tremendous flooding occurred as a result of the rains from Alice and Cora, damaging 190,000 hectares (469,000 acres) of crops which resulted in a loss of 195,000 kg (430,000 lb) in food production.

The JMA in Japan named the typhoon 2nd Miyakojima Typhoon. [1] [2]

See also

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