30th Anniversary of Typhoon Ike (Nitang)

Typhoon_Ike_1984Typhoon Ike as it restrengthens over the South China Sea (NASA)

On September 1, 1984, Typhoon Ike (or Nitang from the Philippine’s name list) tore into the central Philippines, leaving a trail of death behind.  Ike formed from a disturbance in the monsoon trough south of the Mariannas on August 21st.  It meandered as a depression for five days before it reached a favorable area and strengthened into a tropical storm.  It began heading due west and brushed Guam with its outer bands, causing little damage.  It began rapidly intensifying on its westward path and had 145 mph (230 km/hr) winds by the time it struck Siargao in the Philippines.  It tore through the center of the archipelago, weakening below typhoon status as it did.  But Ike regained most of its strength while crossing the South China Sea.  Fortunately, it weakened to 90 mph (140 km/hr) sustained winds before making another landfall on Hainan Island in China.

The typhoon’s rains were as deadly as its winds and over 1,490 Filipinos died mostly from flash flooding.  This made Ike one of the deadliest typhoons in Philippine history.  Hundreds of thousands were left homeless and nearly a billion in US dollars of damage was done.  Over 50 more people were killed in China, even as the storm was dissipating inland, due to the heavy rains.