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Typhoon Noelani
Hyper typhoon (SSHS)
Formed August 18
Dissipated September 21
Damage $21 trillion (2020 USD)

Typhoon Noelani was the worst storm system ever recorded. The storm system is notorious for being a massive storm system that wiped out Japan, killing nearly all of the civilians in the nation, on September 12, around the same time Hurricane Samuel slammed into the city of New York and Cyclone Minnie (which was a typhoon that passed through Thailand into the Indian Ocean) slammed into Kolkata in India. The storm system left over 110 million dead in Japan, Philippines, and even in Russia. As of now, it has beaten Mireille in 1991 as the costliest typhoon in record.

Background

So far, the West Pacific had faced the worst typhoon season in centuries, after several super typhoons left much of the Philippines, China, and even Japan suffered devastation. To make matters worse, massive changes in global temperatures, due to the atmosphere containing huge amounts of methane and carbon dioxide thanks to man-made global warming and a small nuclear war, had caused the equator to heat up to levels never seen before. Ocean temperatures approximately 750 miles from the equator were estimated to average out at 100*F (38*C) or more-perfect for hypercane formation. SST's exceeding 95*F extended beyond the island of Luzon in the Philippines, with 90*F temperatures reaching the coasts of South Korea and Japan, and the Sea of Japan.

Meteorological History

On August 16, a large, low-pressure system was spotted east of the International Date Line, by the Joint Typhoon Weather Center. The JTWC reported that it was a monster, spanning over 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). On August 18, waters exceeding 110*F (43.3*C) and low vertical wind shear allowed the system to produce a massive cluster of thunderstorms just 250 miles east of the date line, somewhere approximately 5 degrees north (about 350 miles north) of the equator. The warm waters allowed the depression to deepen into a typhoon in two hours, as it moved at a slow 5 mph (8 km/h). Just 10 hours later, the storm system was estimated to have been a high-end Category 5 tropical cyclone, with 215-mph (345-km/h) winds and a pressure of 845 millibars (making Noelani the fastest intensifying tropical cyclone on record, along with the fastest intensification from tropical depression to Category 5 typhoon on record). The rapid deepening helped to create a system that spanned a distance of 750 miles (1,200 km), with an eye diameter of 35 miles (56 km). It reached wind speeds of 415 mph (665 km/h) after another 12 hours of absorbing heat. The storm moved at a speed of 8 mph (13 km/h) after crossing the Date Line on August 20, and, on August 24, it hit the Marshall Islands as a super typhoon, with wind speeds of 400 mph (640 km/h) and a pressure of 610 millibars, with hurricane-force winds extending 225 miles (360 km) from the eye, and with tropical-gale-force wind extending a total of 500 miles (800 km) from the eye. The storm's slow motion gave scientists hope that it would cause enough upwelling to cool itself down, but the storm continued to grow, thanks to the fact that the warm waters extended hundreds of feet down, due to the locations near the equator.

The hurricane continued to deepen, and by August 25, the storm system was estimated to have wind speeds of 435 mph (705 km/h) and a pressure of 563 millibars. The storm system then went through an eyewall replacement cycle, but its winds speeds were still estimated to have been 340 mph (550 km/h) by the time the cycle was finished. It then intensified back into a super typhoon, with wind speeds of 420 mph (670 km/h). The storm system continued to intensify, and by August 28, just hours after devastating the Pohnpei Island, the storm system had reached winds of 475 mph (765 km/h) and grew to a diameter of 2,250 miles (3,600 km/h), while the storm system sped up to 10 mph (16 km/h). It then hit the rest of the Federated States of Micronesia while intensifying, killing thousands more. By the time the hurricane was 700 miles east of the Filipino island of Mindanao, the storm system had a diameter of 3,250 miles (5,200 km), with wind speeds of 525 mph (840 km/h) in its 50-mile-wide eyewall, making it the largest storm system on earth (as the hurricane was bigger than Australia), and the strongest as well. The storm system completely annihilated the island of Palau, killing thousands of people, on September 4, 2020. The storm swung a little to the northwest, while still growing and intensifying, as its forward speed increased to 12.5 mph (20 km/h). By September 5, the storm system was packing winds of 560 mph (900 km/h), and it had grown to a diameter of 3,000 miles, making it as wide as the United States of America. Noelani's eye was 200 miles east of Tacloban (it was about 175 miles east of Mindanao at its closest), but the storm's rain bands were bringing heavy rains and hurricane-force winds to the region. At one point, a gust of 230 mph (370 km/h) was recorded in Tacloban.

Noelani moved north, keeping that intensity for several days. On September 8, the storm quickly swung to the east, sparing the Philippines a direct hit. The storm system quickly moved at a speed of 15 mph, constantly growing in size. By the time the storm system stopped intensifying, the storm system had the following features:

  • a diameter exceeding 4,500 miles (7,200 km), making this storm the largest ever recorded,
  • a pressure of 467 millibars (13.79 inHg),
  • an eye of 60 miles (96 km),
  • a radius of maximum winds extending a distance of 80 miles, packing winds of up to 500 mph (800 km/h),
  • and hurricane-force winds extending approximately 900 miles (1,450 km) from the eye, with 100 mph (160 km/h) winds extending as far as 600 miles (960 km) from the eye.

The storm system sped up, and on September 10, the storm's outer bands were beginning to cause flood problems on Honshu, while Kyushu was already suffering devastation from flooding and high winds. The storm system stayed at the same intensity and slowly began to increase forward speed. On the morning of September 12, the storm system slammed into the Kanto Region with 500 mph (800 km/h) winds and a pressure of 467 millibars (13.79 inHg), as the storm system began to move at a speed of 30 mph (48 km/h). The massive size of the storm system helped produce a storm surge of 400 feet (121 meters) at the eyewall of the storm. The storm system crossed Japan with ease, exiting into the Sea of Japan as a 475 mph (765 km/h) storm system, with a pressure of 508 millibars (15.00 inHg). It then slammed into the Russian coast on September 14, as a super typhoon, generating storm surges that wiped the coast clean. The storm then crossed into Russia and China, finally dissipating after swinging away from Northern Russia on September 20.

Impact

Typhoon Noelani was the worst storm system on record, after leveling countless islands before making landfall in Tokyo. The storm left millions dead, and it even annihilated entire regional biomes.

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands were still packing a total of 25,000 people when the storm struck (most had already escaped because of sea level rise and increasing storm damage; the remaining survivors were about to evacuate from this storm). The 400-mph winds literally scraped the islands clean, and the high waves washed away the remains. It is assumed that all 25,000 are dead.

Federated States of Micronesia

Noelani was packing winds of 475 mph (765 km/h) in its 30-mile-wide eyewall as it passed over the first island, Pohnpei Island. The storm system scraped the island for hours, killing 95% of the residents of the island. A total of 33,250 people were dead, and the remaining survivors were forced into special bunkers. The storm system left much of the island underwater.

The typhoon then devastated the rest of the nation, killing another 13,250 people.

Palau

Noelani was packing wind speeds of 525 mph (760 km/h), along with a pressure of 467 millibars (13.79 inHg) in its 50-mile-wide eyewall when it hit the island nation of Palau. The island was mostly evacuated, but 3,500 were still trapped on the island. All were assumed dead, and the island was found to have been completely flooded.

Philippines

The storm system was enormous, with a diameter of 2,500 miles. As the storm system continued to intensify, the storm system caused tremendous flooding and tornadoes all over the island nation, killing over 2,000,000 people, many of them in Manila, after winds in excess of 125 mph (200 km/h) and massive swells exceeding 30 feet (9 meters) flooded the city. High gusts in excess of 200 mph devastated many cities in the Eastern Visayas, Eastern Mindanao, and even Eastern Luzon regions. 1,000,000 more died from disease and famine.

Japan

Japan was all but devastated by Noelani, as the storm system slammed into Japan at a speed of 30 mph (48 km/h). The storm system was packing winds of 500 mph (800 km/h) in its 80-mile-wide radius of maximum winds, so the storm system all but wiped out any city in its path LONG before sending the storm surge inland.

The storm surge, which was estimated to have reached a height of 400 feet (121 meters), topped by 100-foot (30-meter) waves, washed dozens of miles inland at a speed of 30 mph (48 km/h), killing millions more. Areas as far as Nagoya and even Osaka were affected by a major storm tide exceeding fifty feet. Noelani's massive size, which was of continental proportions, meant that the storm surge and winds exceeding 100 mph (160 km/h) affected areas as far as northern Hokkaido when it hit Tokyo. Areas as far southwest as Shikoku and Osaka were exposed to winds of super typhoon velocity for hours on end, leading to millions of casualties in those areas.

A barometer strategically placed in Tokyo so that it would survive the storm recorded a central pressure of 467 millibars, confirming the satellite readings made by the Japan Meteorological Agency and the Joint Typhoon Weather Center.

The storm system left a total of 60 million dead from the high winds and storm surge, while disease and famine killed the remaining survivors, leaving only 23,000,000 people left in the country. Damages are expected to be well over $15 trillion, and the destruction of the biosphere in the region means big consequences for the country.

The storm system had geographically changed the country as well. Tokyo Bay was left more exposed to the ocean, and many cities disappeared beneath the waves.

Russia

A day before the storm hit Japan, Russia was exposed to heavy rains and high winds from Noelani, as it kept building into a 3,000-mile-wide storm system. By the time the storm system was on top of Tokyo, Vladivostok was reporting gusts exceeding 170 mph (275 km/h), while high swells were damaging the port. The major storm system was causing death and destruction in Russia long before the storm hit Russia.

After crossing into the Sea of Japan, Noelani remained a 450-mph typhoon as it approached the coast at up to 40 mph (64 km/h). On September 13, the storm hit Russia, putting its northeastern quadrant on top of the Vladivostok region. Winds exceeded 435 mph, and a storm surge exceeding 260 feet (80 meters) flooded tens of miles inland, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

As the storm system crossed over the region, enormous floods killed hundreds of thousands more in other areas.

After devastating China, it then crossed into Khabarovsk with 200 mph (320 km/h) winds and heavy rains, killing tens of thousands of people. It finally exited out of Russia on September 18.

A total of 1,000,000 were dead in Russia, and over 500,000 more died from famine and disease. Damages exceeded $750 billion in damages.

South Korea

A day before Noelani slammed into Japan, the storm's huge rainbands were causing heavy flooding and thousands of deaths in the country. By the time Noelani crossed into the Sea of Japan, hurricane-force winds and beyond were affecting the East Coast and South Coast of Korea the most, killing tens of thousands more. The total death toll reached 500,000.

Busan recorded gusts exceeding 200 mph at one point, with sustained winds averaging out at 100-130 mph (160-210 km/h) for days on end. The storm system produced storm tides and huge swells which complicated matters even more.

North Korea

A day before Noelani slammed into Japan, the storm's huge rainbands were causing heavy flooding and thousands of deaths in the country as well. By the time Noelani crossed into the Sea of Japan, the storm system brought hurricane-force winds and beyond to the country, killing tens of thousands. The storm system even directly slammed into Changchun and Najin, killing over 500,000 in the region.

Hundreds of thousands were killed or injured across the country, while the region was left devastated. A total of 4,500,000 were dead or injured in the country.

China

The storm crossed through Russia and North Korea, slamming into China as a monstrous storm. The hurricane slammed into Changchun with winds exceeding 250 mph, producing heavy rain and wind damage, and killing hundreds of thousands of people. It then swung north and right into Harbin, producing 225 mph (360 km/h) winds, and killing tens of thousands more. The storm system was finally beginning to die, but the storm system continued to pump rain for days on end, producing floods that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Overall, a total of 7,000,000 died in China, and damages reached into the trillions of dollars.

Aftermath

The storm system left tens of millions dead all across the Western Pacific Rim, especially in the Philippines, Japan, Russia, South Korea, North Korea, and China. The death toll rose to 120,000,000, while damages rose into the tens of trillions of dollars in damage.

The biosphere of Japan was completely wrecked, and it is expected to take centuries for the country to recover.

Parts of Russia were completely destroyed and left abandoned, along with North Korea and South Korea, along with parts of China.

It will take decades for any of these countries to recover.

See Also

  • Hurricane Samuel (2020), a 1,500-mile-wide (2,400 km) super hurricane that brought the Eastern Seaboard of the United States to its knees and killed millions.
  • Typhoon Minnie, a super typhoon that made landfall in Thailand and India with wind speeds of up to 415 mph (665 km/h), killing millions of people.

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