The East Coast of the United States is suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Millions are without power, 75 are dead, New York City is slowly recovering, and New Jersey is ravished with many homes either destroyed or underwater. Despite the destruction and devastation caused by Sandy, the hurricane does not rank anywhere close to some of the most powerful hurricanes to reach U.S. soil.
America has been beaten by a number of hurricanes in its history, including the infamous Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, the country has never seen the type of destruction seen by Asia as a result of typhoons.
A typhoon is the same as a hurricane, but just with a different geographical location. Typhoons are described by the Glossary of Meteorology as, “a severe tropical cyclone in the western North Pacific.” Further, hurricanes are described as “a tropical cyclone … in the Western Hemisphere.” Typhoons, historically, have been more deadly than hurricanes as a result of Asia’s dense population.
The deadliest typhoon to date reached land in 1881 in the port city of Haiphong, Vietnam. The location of the city, at the mouth of the Cam River, and the average elevation of 3 meters above sea level created a recipe for disaster. Not much is known of the 1881 Haiphong Typhoon, but it is estimated that, due to flooding, about 300,000 people lost their lives, making it the deadliest typhoon in history.
More recently, China and Taiwan was met with an unstoppable force named Nina in the summer of 1975. Typhoon Nina is listed as the second most deadly typhoon in history, accounting for roughly 100,000 deaths. Nina also caused $1.2 billion (USD) in damage. That total, converted to the value of the dollar in 2011, is equivalent to nearly $5 billion.
The most costly typhoon to reach land in Asia was in 1991 as Typhoon Mireille virtually destroyed the entire island of Japan. The total estimated cost of damage in 1991 was $10 billion (USD), which, in 2012, is equal to $17.1 billion.
Typhoon Nancy, a tropical cyclone that ripped through Japan and Guam, was estimated to have a 1-minute sustained wind gust of 215 miles per hour, 25 miles per hour faster than any other recorded wind gust. Also, Nancy is said to have maintained category five status for the longest time in history, a record 132 hours. Luckily, Nancy’s devastation was limited, only causing around 173 deaths.