Typhoons in the Philippines

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Approximately twenty tropical cyclones enter the Philippine area of responsibility yearly, an area which incorporates parts of the Pacific Ocean, the West Philippine Sea, and the Philippine Archipelago (with the exception of Tawi-Tawi province). In each year, ten cyclones are usually expected to be typhoons, with five having the potential to be destructive ones.[1] According to a 2013 Time Magazine article, the Philippines is "the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms".[2] In the Philippine languages, tropical cyclones are generally called bagyo.[3]

Typhoons can hit the Philippines any time of the year, with the months of June to September being most active, with August being the most active individual month and May the least active. Typhoons usually move east to west across the country, heading north or west as they go. Storms most frequently make landfall on the islands of Eastern Visayas, Bicol region, and northern Luzon,[2] whereas the southern island and region of Mindanao is largely free of typhoons. Climate change is likely to worsen the situation, with extreme weather events including typhoons posing various risks and threats to the Philippines.[4]

The deadliest overall tropical cyclone to affect the Philippines is believed to have been the Haiphong typhoon, which is estimated to have killed up to 20,000 people as it passed over the country in September 1881. In modern meteorological records, the deadliest storm was Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), which became the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record as it crossed the Visayas in central Philippines on November 7–8, 2013. The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 14–18, 1911 cyclone which dropped over Template:Convert of rainfall within a 3-day, 15-hour period in Baguio.[5] Tropical cyclones usually account for at least 30 percent of the annual rainfall in the northern Philippines while being responsible for less than 10 percent of the annual rainfall in the southern islands. PAGASA Senior Weather Specialist Anthony Lucero told the newsite Rappler that the number of destructive typhoons have increased recently but it is too early to call it a trend.[1]

Tropical cyclones entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility, as well as tropical depressions that form within it, are given a local name by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), which also raises public storm signal warnings as deemed necessary.[6][7]

Preparation and response to typhoons is coordinated by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Each Philippine province and local government in the Philippines has a corresponding Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO). Each provincial and local government is required to set aside 5% of its yearly budget for disaster risk reduction, preparations, and response.[1]

The frequency of typhoons in the Philippines have made typhoons a significant part of everyday ancient and modern Filipino culture.[2]


Bagyo (sometimes spelled bagyu or bagyio[3]) is the word for "typhoon" or "storm" in most Philippine languages, including Tagalog, Visayan, Ilocano, Bicolano, Hanunó'o, Aklanon, Pangasinan and Kapampangan. It is derived from Proto-Austronesian *baRiuS, meaning "typhoon". Cognates in other Austronesian languages include Sama baliw ("wind"), Amis faliyos or farios ("typhoon"); Saisiyat balosh ("typhoon"), Babuza bayus ("storm"), Puyuma variw, Bintulu bauy ("wind"), Kelabit bariw ("storm wind"), and Chamorro pakyo ("typhoon").[8]

Storm naming conventions: local and international names

Map of the path of Typhoon Frank (Fengshen), showing it making landfall in the Eastern Visayas before taking a northwesterly path

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu started monitoring and naming storms in the Western Pacific region in 1945, originally using female names in English alphabetical order. That list was revised in 1979 by introducing male names to be used in alternation with the female names.[9] The Philippine Weather Bureau started naming storms within their area of responsibility in 1963, using female Filipino names ending in the former native alphabetical order. The Bureau continued to monitor typhoons until the agency's abolition in 1972, after which its duties were transferred to the newly-established PAGASA. This often resulted in a Western Pacific cyclone carrying two names: an international name and a local name used within the Philippines. This two-name scheme is still followed today.

In 2000, cyclone monitoring duties in the Western Pacific were transferred from the JTWC to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the RSMC of the World Meteorological Organization. The international naming scheme of the typhoons was replaced with a sequential list of names contributed by 14 nations in the region, including the Philippines. The new scheme largely uses terms for local features of the contributing nation, such as animals, plants, foods and adjectives in the native language. The rotation of names is based on the alphabetical order of the contributing nations. The Philippines, however, would maintain its own naming scheme for its local forecasts. In 2001, PAGASA revised its naming scheme to contain longer annual lists with a more mixed set of names.

Currently, the JMA and PAGASA each assign names to typhoons that form within or enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility. The JMA naming scheme for international use contains 140 names described above. The list is not restricted by year; the first name to be used in a typhoon season is the name after the last-named cyclone of the preceding season.[10] The PAGASA naming scheme for Philippine use contains four lists, each containing twenty-five names arranged in alphabetical order. Every typhoon season begins with the first name in the assigned list, and the rolls of names are each reused every four years. An auxiliary list of ten names is used when the main list in a year had been exhausted.[11] Not all Western Pacific cyclones are given names by both weather agencies, as JMA does not name tropical depressions, and PAGASA does not name cyclones outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

In the case of both weather agencies, names are retired after a typhoon that carried it caused severe or costly damage and loss of life. Retirement is decided by the agencies' committees, although in PAGASA's case, names are routinely retired when the cyclone caused at least 300 deaths or ₱1 billion in damage in the Philippines. Retired names are replaced with another name for the next rotation, for JMA by the nation that submitted the retired name, and for PAGASA with a name sharing the same first letter as the retired name.

Variability in activity

Tracks of tropical cyclones worldwide, 1945–2006. The Philippines is under the red and yellow tracks northeast of Borneo.

On an annual time scale, activity reaches a minimum in May, before increasing steadily to June, and spiking from July to September, with August being the most active month for tropical cyclones in the Philippines. Activity reduces significantly in October.[12] The most active season, since 1945, for tropical cyclone strikes on the island archipelago was 1993 when nineteen tropical cyclones moved through the country (though there were 36 storms that were named by PAGASA).[13] There was only one tropical cyclone which moved through the Philippines in 1958.[14] The most frequently impacted areas of the Philippines by tropical cyclones are northern Luzon and eastern Visayas.[15] A ten-year average of satellite determined precipitation showed that at least 30 percent of the annual rainfall in the northern Philippines could be traced to tropical cyclones, while the southern islands receive less than 10 percent of their annual rainfall from tropical cyclones.[16]

Tropical cyclone warning signals

Template:Philippine Tropical Cyclone Signals The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) releases tropical cyclone warnings in the form of tropical cyclone warning signals.[17] An area having a storm signal may be under:

These tropical cyclone warning signals are usually raised when an area (in the Philippines only) is about to be hit by a tropical cyclone. As a tropical cyclone gains strength and/or gets nearer to an area having a storm signal, the warning may be upgraded to a higher one in that particular area (e.g. a signal No. 1 warning for an area may be increased to signal #3). Conversely, as a tropical cyclone weakens and/or gets farther to an area, it may be downgraded to a lower signal or may be lifted (that is, an area will have no storm signal).

Classes for preschool are canceled when signal No. 1 is in effect. Elementary and high school classes and below are canceled under signal No. 2 and classes for colleges, universities and below are canceled under signal Nos. 3, 4 and 5.

List of Philippine typhoons


Template:Main The JTWC was already naming tropical cyclones in the Northwest Pacific basin since 1945, before the Philippines did so. Only a few notable storms persisted before 1963. A tropical cyclone assumably impacted Northern Luzon on July 1911, in which a record-breaking precipitation level was seen in Baguio City, with 2,210 mm (87 in) of rainfall being dumped by the storm. In 1881, a typhoon also impacted Northern Luzon, but around 20,000 people have died from the typhoon, making it the most deadliest Philippine typhoon.



Typhoon Angela (Rosing) prior to landfall on November 1995

In 1963, the PAGASA began naming tropical cyclones that enter their area of responsibility using female names ending with "ng". During the period of 1963 to 1999, the Philippines experienced several number of typhoons that affected or made landfall. Moreover, this period saw the most active typhoon season in the Philippines ― with 31 typhoons being named by PAGASA ― in 1993.

This period saw several notable and deadly typhoons that passed anywhere in the country. Typhoon Patsy (Yoling) of 1970 became one of the deadliest typhoons to strike Metro Manila.[18] Typhoon Nina (Sisang) in 1987 became one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Bicol Region. Typhoon Yunya (Diding) in June 1991 struck Luzon at the time of the colossal eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Later in the same year, Tropical Storm Thelma (Uring) became one of the most deadliest storms to hit the country, killing just over 5,000 people.



Tropical Storm Ketsana (Ondoy) over the Philippines on September 2009

In the beginning of this period, significant changes were seen in the naming of tropical cyclones in the Northwest Pacific ― the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), as the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) of the basin, took over the naming of tropical cyclones by 2000,[10] and the PAGASA revised its naming scheme to contain longer annual lists with a more mixed set of names by 2001. Adjustments in the Philippine cyclone names also occurred in 2005 and in 2021.

The strongest typhoon to make landfall in the country during this time period was Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in November 2013 and Typhoon Goni (Rolly) in late-October 2020, which both made landfall with 1-minute sustained winds of 315 km/h (195 mph). The typhoon also, as of this date, is the most deadly Philippine typhoon during this period, which killed 6,300 people. Other notable Philippine storms during this period include Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) in September 2009 which became the most devastating tropical cyclone to hit Manila,[19] and Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) in December 2012, which became the strongest typhoon on record to hit Mindanao.

Deadliest cyclones

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) to make landfall over Leyte in November 2013

Template:Deadliest Philippine typhoons

Wettest recorded tropical cyclones

Typhoon Kujira near peak intensity on May 4, 2009

Template:Main article Template:Wettest tropical cyclones in the Philippines

Most destructive

Animated enhanced infrared satellite loop of Typhoon Haiyan from peak intensity to landfall in the Philippines

Template:Costliest Philippine typhoons

See also


For other storms impacting the Philippines in deadly seasons, see:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "IN NUMBERS: Typhoons in the Philippines and the 2016 polls", Rappler, March 19, 2016. (in en) 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "The Philippines Is the Most Storm-Exposed Country on Earth", Time, November 11, 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Glossary of Meteorology. Baguio. Retrieved on June 11, 2008.
  4. Overland, Indra et al. (2017) Impact of Climate Change on ASEAN International Affairs: Risk and Opportunity Multiplier, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and Myanmar Institute of International and Strategic Studies (MISIS).
  5. J. L. H. Paulhaus (1973). World Meteorological Organization Operational Hydrology Report No. 1: Manual For Estimation of Probable Maximum Precipitation. World Meteorological Organization. 
  6. Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Hurricane Research Division. Frequently Asked Questions: What are the upcoming tropical cyclone names?. NOAA.
  7. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) (May 2015). Public Storm Warning Signal. PAGASA.
  8. Robert Blust & Stephen Trussel (2010). *baRiuS. Austronesian Comparative Dictionary.
  9. Padua, David Michael. Names.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Tropical Cyclone Naming (en) (May 30, 2016).
  11. Philippine Tropical Cyclone Names.
  12. Ricardo García-Herrera, Pedro Ribera, Emiliano Hernández and Luis Gimeno (September 26, 2003). Typhoons in the Philippine Islands, 1566–1900. David V. Padua.
  13. Joint Typhoon Warning Center (2009). Member Report Republic of the Philippines. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. World Meteorological Organization.
  14. Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specifiedJoint Typhoon Warning Center (1959). . United States Navy.
  15. Colleen A. Sexton (2006). Philippines in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 978-0-8225-2677-3. “most active typhoon season for the philippines.” 
  16. Edward B. Rodgers; Robert F. Adler & Harold F. Pierce. "Satellite-measured rainfall across the Pacific Ocean and tropical cyclone contribution to the total". Retrieved November 25, 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) (May 2015). Public Storm Warning Signal. PAGASA.
  18. Archived copy. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved on 2011-06-07.
  19. Metro Manila, 25 provinces placed under state of calamity. GMANews.TV (2009-09-26).

External links