Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Typhoon Ike

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Fatalities  1,440 total
Highest wind speed  232 km/h
Damage  $1 billion (1984 USD)
Typhoon Ike, otherwise known as Typhoon Nitang as seen from satellite view.

Formed  August 26, 1984 (August 26, 1984)
Dissipated  September 6, 1984 (September 6, 1984)
Highest winds  10-minute sustained: 165 km/h (105 mph)1-minute sustained: 230 km/h (145 mph)
Lowest pressure  950 hPa (mbar); 28.05 inHg
Date  26 August 1984 – 6 September 1984
Affected areas  Philippines, Northern Mariana Islands, Ryukyu Islands, China, Guam
Similar  Tropical Storm Thelma, Typhoon Mike, Typhoon Angela, Typhoon Joan, Typhoon Kate

1984 typhoon ike 1 3

Typhoon Ike, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Nitang, was the deadliest typhoon of the 1984 Pacific typhoon season and crossed the Philippines in September. This tropical cyclone formed on August 27 in the Philippine Sea, and strengthened as it moved westward into the southern Philippines, becoming a typhoon on August 31. Typhoon Ike caused extreme wind and flooding damage when it crossed the Philippines, resulting in 1492 fatalities, one of the Philippines' worst natural disaster in modern times, and its worst typhoon since Amy struck the archipelago in 1951. A total of 200,000 to 480,000 were left homeless. Emerging from the Philippines as a strong tropical storm, Ike restrengthened as it tracked northwest through the South China Sea across northeast Hainan Island. Weakening back into a tropical storm, Ike moved inland into mainland China. In Hong Kong, winds gusted to 49 knots (91 km/h) at Tate's Cairn. Extensive crop damage was experienced in southern China, with Ike becoming the most significant tropical cyclone to strike Guangxi since 1954. Total damage was reportedly US$111 million (1984 dollars). The name Ike was retired after this season. Typhoon Ike was recorded with a 220 km/h gust and an estimated 185 km/h msw in Surigao on September 2 and is one of the intense tropical cyclones and devastating and deadliest to hit the RP.


Typhoon Ike as seen entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility in a news coverage.

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Meteorological history

The meteorological history of Typhoon Ike can be traced back to an innocuous circulation of wind first identified as part of the region's monsoon trough southeast of Guam on August 21. Over the next few days, the disturbance failed to develop as a result of inhibiting wind shear which remained over the area. However, the shear quickly abated on August 25, allowing for convection to build and persist over the system's center of circulation; this prompted the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) to classify the storm as a tropical depression at 00:00 UTC the following day. Tracking generally northward, the depression continued to improve in organization and became more compact, allowing the JTWC to upgrade the system to tropical storm intensity on August 27 and thus assigning the tropical cyclone with the name Ike.

Ike's track northward brought it 165 km (105 mi) southwest of Guam before the tropical storm stalled and turned towards the west-southwest on August 28 as a result of a subtropical ridge to its north. Initially, the lingering presence of wind shear slowed intensification, but Ike briefly attained typhoon status briefly on August 29 as wind shear temporarily decreased before falling back to tropical storm strength. These fluctuating atmospheric conditions eventually gave way to a sustained and favorable environment, allowing for Ike to expand in size and enter a second intensification phase. Now assuming a more westerly bearing, Ike continued to strengthen unimpedingly; at 12:00 UTC on September 1, the typhoon reached its peak intensity with winds of 165 km/h (105 mph) and a barometric pressure of 950 mbar (hPa; 28.05 inHg) as analyzed by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

With this intensity Ike made landfall on the northeastern tip of Mindanao at around 14:00 UTC on September 1, taking 30 hours to track across the southern extent of the Philippines. The cyclone emerged into the South China Sea on October 3, but due to its interaction with the islands of the Philippines, Ike was a weak tropical storm upon its emergence. The storm tracked northwestward across the South China Sea over the next few days. During this time, Ike regained its former typhoon classification and reached a secondary peak intensity on September 4 with winds of 165 km/h (105 mph) and a pressure of 955 mbar (hPa; 28.20 inHg), only slightly weaker than its peak strength. The combination of a trough passing to the storm's north and the typhoon's proximity to land caused Ike to weaken prior to its September 5 landfall on Hainan. After traversing the island, the storm moved into the Chinese mainland as a tropical storm 110 km (70 mi) southeast of Nanning. Thereafter, Ike quickly weakened and dissipated on September 6.


When Ike began to turn towards the northwest on September 3, typhoon warnings were issued for areas between Hong Kong and Beihai. Hundreds of cargo ships left port to escape the typhoon. In Zhanjiang, sandbagging operations took place throughout the day in an effort to construct a barrier against Ike's storm surge. Hundreds of thousands of residents evacuated from coastal areas.


Upon making landfall on northeastern Mindanao on September 1, Ike became the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the Philippines since 1970. A typhoon warning was issued by the Manila Weather Bureau for the Philippine provinces of Surigao, Agusan, Leyte, Samar, Camiguin, Bohol, Cebu, Misamis Oriental, and Negros. Local authorities warned residents via radio of potentially impacted areas to flee to higher ground due to the threat of destructive storm surge. Although no mandatory evacuation was in effect, local radio stations broadcast appeals for evacuation every 30 minutes under the direction of the Manila Weather Bureau.

Ike left a path of destruction in the Philippines that was at its time unparalleled. Property damage on the islands reached US$111 million. A total of 1,426 people were killed as a result of the typhoon, with another 1.66 million being "severely affected" by the passing storm Most of the deaths were in Surigao del Norte where around 1,000 died. In that province, 80% of buildings were destroyed alongside a majority of rice farms and coconut plantations. More than half of Surigao del Norte's cattle, goat, and pig population were killed. Initial reports indicated that 24 people died in Surigao City while another 29 were killed on nearby Nonoc Island. However, these figures quickly rose as more reports from the stricken region were documented. Fresh water shortages occurred after power was lost in Surigao City. A C-130 loaded with 32,000 tonnes (35,000 tons) of relief supplies was sent to the city to aid in relief operations. To the southwest in Mainit, numerous homes were swept away after Lake Mainit overflowed its banks, leading to the deaths of over 200 people.

In Cebu, thousands of refugees stayed in town halls and churches during the storm; 10 people were injured by flying debris and another 12 went missing on the island. Strong winds snapped power lines in Cebu, resulting in a power outage impacted the entire province. Off of Cebu City, 10 ferries sunk due to the strong waves generated by Ike. Roads connecting Cebu City to 44 peripheral towns were blocked by fallen trees and severe flooding. Damage in Cebu Province totaled US$6.8 million. The amount of people displaced in the Philippines following the storm's passage remains uncertain, with figures ranging from 200,000 to 400,000.

In Bohol, the death toll reached 178, the biggest number of casualties resulting from a calamity in the province. 20 persons were missing and feared to have perished. 89,000 houses, 938 public schools, Php62-M worth of crops, poultry and livestocks, churches, bridges and other public buildings were destroyed or damaged. The town of Mabini suffered the biggest toll of human lives with 14 dead while Guindulman appeared to be the most badly destroyed. Both the Inabanga and Loboc Rivers swelled and flooded their respective towns for days forcing church services to be held at their convents due to heavy deposits of mud in the church proper.

Ilog River, the largest in Negros Island found at Southern Negros Occidental burst its banks and sent a deluge of mud, water, debris and thousands of logs to the municipalities of Kabankalan and Ilog killing almost a hundred. Survivors clambered to rooftops and attics of two-storey houses while others clung on tall trees for almost two days without food and water. The local disaster agency recovered 48 bodies and 29 reported missing and were presumed dead, but claims of other missing were reported. Severe wind damage to houses and sugarcane plantations were reported all over Central Negros up to Bacolod City.


Upon striking southern China, Ike was a large typhoon with gale-force winds extending out 315 km (195 mi) from the center. The storm brought 76–127 mm (3–4 in) to most of the affected areas, with locally higher amounts. Thirteen fishermen were overcome by the 7.6–9.1 m (25–30 ft) swells off the coast of Weizhou Island. Numerous trees and power lines were downed by the storms' high winds and an estimated 13,000 structures were damaged or destroyed. An additional 46 people were killed by the remnants of Ike in central China. An estimated 29,651 acres (119.99 km2) of sugar cane were destroyed and about 2.9 million pounds of vegetables were lost.

Total damages in the Philippines and China amounted to $1 billion (1984 USD).


Due to the proximity of Ike to Guam upon its formation, the island was placed under the third Condition of Readiness level; this was the first time that such a high readiness level was issued since Typhoon Pamela in 1982. Although Ike passed somewhat near the island, the storm's compact size mitigated any damage. Despite one-minute sustained winds estimated at 110 km/h (70 mi) near the storm's center, a station on Nimitz Hill only documented winds of 30 km/h (20 mi) with higher gusts. Elsewhere, the outer extremities of Ike produced light rainfall on Okinawa, peaking at 3.8 mm (0.15 in).


Immediately following Ike, the Government of the Philippines dispatched a C-130 aircraft carrying relief supplies to the affected areas. The large loss of life resulted in morgues running out of coffins, leading to bodies being immediately buried to prevent the spread of disease. Imelda Marcos, the wife of president Ferdinand Marcos, flew to Surigao to personally hand out relief supplies. The president set aside $4 million for relief work but refused any international aid. Starting on September 11, a massive relief item airlift was planned to assist the region. Striking the Philippines not long after Tropical Storm June, 19 provinces had already been placed under a state of emergency. Following Ike, three other provinces were placed under a state of emergency.


Due to the destruction in the Philippines, the name Ike was retired and was replaced by Ian. Its PAGASA name, Nitang, was also retired, and was replaced by Ningning.


Typhoon Ike Wikipedia