30th Anniversary of Typhoon Nina

Typhoon Nina near peak intensity on Nov. 25, 1987
(NOAA)

On November 25, 1987, Typhoon Nina (known as Typhoon Sisang in the Philippines) struck the island of Luzon.  It was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the archipelago in six years and left over 800 people dead in its wake.

Nina began as a disturbance near the Marshall Islands on Nov. 16th.  It moved northwestward and increased in organization.  By Nov. 20th, it was a named tropical storm when it hit the Chuuk Lagoon (formerly Truk Lagoon).  The storm killed four people and left thousands homeless on the atoll’s islands.

It became a full typhoon the next day and passed 70 miles (110 km) south of Ulithi in the Caroline Islands.  It then tracked to the west-northwest over the next three days.  When the Philippines meteorological service (PAGASA) began to monitor the approaching storm they assigned it the name Sisang from their separate list.

When it drew closer to the Philippines, Nina underwent a rapid intensification and struck Luzon with 165 mph (265 km/hr) maximum sustained winds.  It battered the islands for the next eighteen hours as it passed over, little diminished.

Track of Typhoon Nina (Typhoon Sisang) 1987
(Unisys)

As it moved toward China, the typhoon began to weaken and become less organized.  However, while over the South China Sea, Nina made a large, clockwise loop missing Hainan and the Chinese mainland.  Wind shear began to tear the storm apart and it dissipated over the sea on November 29th.

The death toll from Sisang was 812 people and it caused over US$84 million in damage.