The 1976 Pacific typhoon season has no official bounds; it ran year-round in 1976, but most tropical cyclones tend to form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean between June and December. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
The scope of this article is limited to the Pacific Ocean, north of the equator and west of the international date line. Storms that form east of the date line and north of the equator are called hurricanes; see 1976 Pacific hurricane season. Tropical Storms formed in the entire west pacific basin were assigned a name by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Tropical depressions in this basin have the "W" suffix added to their number. Tropical depressions that enter or form in the Philippine area of responsibility are assigned a name by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA. This can often result in the same storm having two names.
25 tropical storms formed this year in the Western Pacific. 14 storms reached typhoon intensity, of which 4 reached super typhoon strength.
The monsoon trough spawned a tropical depression east of the Philippines on May 10. It tracked generally westward, reaching tropical storm status on the 13th while remaining poorly organized. On the 14th Olga relocated to the southeast, and regained tropical storm strength after weakening. The storm headed to the northwest, and looped in response to the approach of a long wave trough. After returning to a westward movement Olga, despite unfavorable wind shear, strengthened to a typhoon on the 20th. It rapidly intensified that night, and hit eastern Luzon early on the 21st as a 115 mph (185 km/h) typhoon. It drifted across the island, and turned northward in the South China Sea. Olga moved rapidly to the northeast, and on the 28th Olga was absorbed by a subtropical disturbance. Olga brought torrential flooding, at some points as much as 50 inches (1,300 mm) of rain. Because of this, 374 people were killed and thousands were left homeless. Olga also destroyed many of the sets used during the filming of Apocalypse Now.
The near equatorial trough produced a tropical depression on May 14 north of Chuuk. It moved southwestward, becoming a tropical storm on the 15th. Pamela slowly looped to the northwest, and reached typhoon status on the 16th. On the 18th and 19th, Pamela rapidly intensified to a 150 mph (240 km/h) super typhoon, and slowly weakened as it continued its northwest movement. On May 21 the typhoon crossed Guam with sustained winds of 140 mph (230 km/h). After slowly crossing the island, Pamela turned to the north, and weakened until becoming extratropical on the 26th. Pamela was the strongest typhoon to hit Guam since Super Typhoon Karen in 1962. Though Karen was much stronger, Pamela's slow crossing caused much more damage, amounting to $500 million (1976 USD, $1.7 billion 2005 USD). Well-executed warnings allowed for only one death in Guam. Before Typhoon Pamela hit Guam, ten people died in a landslide in Truk (Chuuk) from its heavy rains.
The monsoon trough spawned Tropical Depression 7W on June 20. It headed westward, slowly organizing into a tropical storm on the 23rd. Ruby turned to the northwest, and reached typhoon strength just before hitting Luzon on the 25th. It crossed the island, weakening to a tropical storm before turning to the northeast in the South China Sea. Ruby again became a typhoon on the 28th, and on July 2, the typhoon reached a peak of 140 mph (230 km/h) winds while south of Japan. The typhoon turned to the east, and became extratropical on the 3rd. 16 people were killed from the typhoon.
Typhoon Therese, which developed on July 8, explosively deepened on the 12th and 13th to a 155 mph (249 km/h) super typhoon. Therese weakened as it continued to the northwest, and struck southwest Japan on the 19th as a tropical storm. It looped to the west, and dissipated on the 21st. Therese caused heavy flooding, killing 3 people and causing millions in damage.
Tropical Storm Violet struck Hong Kong and Hainan Island killing 2 people.
When 105 mph (169 km/h) Typhoon Billie hit eastern Taiwan and China, it caused heavy flooding and wind damage, amounting to 4 casualties (with 8 missing and 41 drownings) and $2.6 million in damage (1976 USD).
Tropical Storm Ellen struck Hong Kong killing 27 people and left 3 missing.
An area of disturbed weather organized into Tropical Depression 17W on September 2. It tracked northwestward, becoming a tropical storm on the 4th and a typhoon on the 6th. Fran rapidly intensified to a 150 mph (240 km/h) super typhoon on the 7th, and weakened as it turned northward. After stalling and drifting to the west, Fran continued its northward movement, hit southwestern Japan on the 12th, and became extratropical in the Sea of Japan on the 13th. The storm caused heavy flooding and wind damage, causing 133 fatalities (with 32 missing) and $572 million in damage (1976 USD, $1.9 billion in 2005 USD), the worst Japanese typhoon in over 10 years.
Western North Pacific tropical cyclones were named by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The first storm of 1976 was named Kathy and the final one was named Opal.
One Central Pacific system developed, Hurricane Kate. The policy at the time was to use Western Pacific names the Central Pacific.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) used its own naming scheme for tropical cyclones within its area of responsibility. Lists were recycled every four years. This is the same list used for the 1972 season.