1981–82 South Pacific cyclone season

The 1981–82 South Pacific cyclone season was a slightly-below average South Pacific tropical cyclone season, with 6 tropical cyclones occurring within the South Pacific Ocean basin between 160°E and 120°W during the season. After this season, the names Gyan and Isaac were retired from the lists of names, after they caused significant impacts to South Pacific island nations.

1981–82 South Pacific cyclone season
1981-1982 South Pacific cyclone season summary.jpg
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formedDecember 18, 1981
Last system dissipatedMay 18, 1982
Strongest storm
 • Maximum winds185 km/h (115 mph)
(10-minute sustained)
 • Lowest pressure925 hPa (mbar)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions6
Tropical cyclones6
Severe tropical cyclones5
Total fatalities6
Total damageUnknown
Related articles
South Pacific tropical cyclone seasons
1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84

During the season, tropical cyclones were monitored by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers in Nadi, Fiji, Brisbane, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand. During the season TCWC Nadi issued warnings and assigned names to any tropical cyclones that developed between the Equator and 25°S while TCWC Wellington issued warnings for any that were located to the south of 25°S. The United States Armed Forces through the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center (NPMOC), also monitored the basin and issued unofficial warnings for American interests. TCWC Nadi, Brisbane and Wellington measured sustained windspeeds over a 10-minute which are compared to the modern day Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale. The JTWC and the NPMOC measured sustained windspeeds over a 1-minute period which are compared to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS).


Severe Tropical Cyclone GyanEdit

Category 4 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 3 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
DurationDecember 18 – December 29
Peak intensity185 km/h (115 mph) (10-min) 925 hPa (mbar)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Gyan existed from December 18 to December 29.

Severe Tropical Cyclone HettieEdit

Category 3 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 1 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
DurationJanuary 24 – February 1
Peak intensity130 km/h (80 mph) (10-min) 965 hPa (mbar)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Hettie existed from January 24 to February 1.

Severe Tropical Cyclone AbigailEdit

Category 4 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 3 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
DurationFebruary 1 – February 7
Peak intensity175 km/h (110 mph) (10-min) 947 hPa (mbar)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Abigail existed from February 1 to February 7.

Severe Tropical Cyclone IsaacEdit

Category 4 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 4 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
DurationFebruary 27 – March 5
Peak intensity175 km/h (110 mph) (10-min) 930 hPa (mbar)

The tropical cyclone developed 160 km/100 mi northeast of western Samoa and travelled southwest at 12 knots, moving through the Ha'apai island group and only 50 km/30 mi northwest of Tongatapu. The pressure at Tongatapu fell to 976.4 mbar (28.83 inHg). Winds of 92 knots were measured at Nuku'alofa,[1] and rainfall of 120 millimetres (4.7 in) was measured there. Isaac reached maximum intensity on March 2. The tropical cyclone was the worst storm in Tonga's history, devastating the island group.[2] The island groups of Ha'apai and Vava'u were hit worst. Six were killed,[1] while 45,000 became homeless and 95% of the livestock was killed.[3] The island of Tatafa was bisected by a 16 metres (52 ft) wide channel caused by Isaac's storm surge.[4]

Severe Tropical Cyclone BernieEdit

Category 4 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 2 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
DurationApril 5 – April 9
Peak intensity165 km/h (105 mph) (10-min) 960 hPa (mbar)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Bernie existed from April 1 to April 9.

Bernie caused extensive damage to natural vegetation and food gardens on the islands of Western Gudalcanal, Santa Isabel, New Georgia and the Russell Islands.[5][6] Over 1000 people also had to evacuated from villages on the eastern coast of Gudalcanal.[5][6]

Tropical Cyclone ClaudiaEdit

Category 1 tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Tropical storm (SSHWS)
DurationMay 13 – May 18
Peak intensity75 km/h (45 mph) (10-min) 990 hPa (mbar)

Tropical Cyclone Claudia existed from May 13 to May 18.

Other systemsEdit

Between February 4 - 5, a developing tropical cyclone existed to the west of the Samoan Islands and caused flooding, as well as widespread wind damage within American Samoa. Significant damage was also reported in Western Samoa.[7]

See alsoEdit

  • Atlantic hurricane seasons: 1981, 1982
  • Eastern Pacific hurricane seasons: 1981, 1982
  • Western Pacific typhoon seasons: 1981, 1982
  • North Indian Ocean cyclone seasons: 1981, 1982


  1. ^ a b Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Conservation management and mitigation of the impact of tropical cyclones
  2. ^ Tonga – History
  3. ^ "Tonga in the News". Archived from the original on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  4. ^ James P. Terry (2007). Tropical cyclones: climatology and impacts in the South Pacific. Springer. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-387-71542-1. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  5. ^ a b Britton, Neil R. "Efficient Australian relief system needs pre-disaster backing" (PDF). AODRO Newsletter. Australian Overseas Disaster Response Organisation. 4 (2). ISSN 0812-3039. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Britton, Neil R (1987). "Disaster in the South Pacific: Impact of tropical cyclone "Nomu" on the Solomon Islands, May 1986". Disasters. 11 (2): 120–133. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7717.1987.tb00627.x. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena: February 1982 (PDF) (Report). Vol. 24. United States National Climatic Data Center. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 12, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2020.

External linksEdit