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Typhoon Higos was considered the fifth strongest typhoon to affect Tokyo since World War II. The 21st named storm of the 2002 Pacific typhoon season, Higos developed on September 25 east of the Northern Marianas Islands. It tracked west-northwestward for its first few days, steadily intensifying into a powerful typhoon by September 29. Higos subsequently weakened and turned to the north-northeast toward Japan, making landfall in that country's Kanagawa Prefecture on October 1. It weakened while crossing Honshu, and shortly after striking Hokkaidō, Higos became extratropical on October 2. The remnants passed over Sakhalin and dissipated on October 4.

Typhoon Higos
Typhoon (JMA scale)
Category 4 super typhoon (SSHWS)
Super Typhoon Higos 2002.jpg
Typhoon Higos at peak intensity on September 30
FormedSeptember 25, 2002
DissipatedOctober 4, 2002
(Extratropical after October 2, 2002)
Highest winds10-minute sustained: 175 km/h (110 mph)
1-minute sustained: 250 km/h (155 mph)
Lowest pressure930 hPa (mbar); 27.46 inHg
Fatalities12 total
Damage$2.14 billion (2002 USD)
Areas affectedNorthern Marianas Islands, Japan, Russian Far East
Part of the 2002 Pacific typhoon season

Before striking Japan, Higos produced strong winds in the Northern Marianas Islands while passing to their north. These winds damaged the food supply on two islands. Later, Higos moved across Japan with wind gusts as strong as 161 km/h (100 mph), including record gusts at several locations. A total of 608,130 buildings in the country were left without power, and two people were electrocuted in the storm's aftermath. The typhoon also dropped heavy rainfall that peaked at 346 mm (13.6 in). The rains flooded houses across the country and caused mudslides. High waves washed 25 boats ashore and killed one person along the coast. Damage in the country totaled JP¥261 billion ($2.14 billion in 2002 USD),[nb 1] and there were five deaths in the country. Later, the remnants of Higos affected the Russian Far East, killing seven people involved in two shipwrecks offshore Primorsky Krai.

Meteorological historyEdit

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC)[nb 2] first monitored an area of disturbed weather on September 25.[2] At the time, the system consisted of a weak circulation, but with good outflow and located in an area of low wind shear.[3] The system moved to the west-northwest, steered by a subtropical ridge to the east of Japan.[2] On September 26, a tropical depression developed about 925 km (575 mi) east of the Northern Marianas Islands, and also to the south of the Japanese island of Minamitorishima.[2][4] Later that day, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)[nb 3] upgraded the depression to Tropical Storm Higos,[4] at the same time that the JTWC also upgraded to a tropical storm.[2] By that time, the system had developed an organized area of convection.[3]

The storm gradually intensified while passing to the north of Saipan, and Higos attained typhoon status on September 27.[4] Shortly thereafter, it also passed just south of Pagan Island. A well-defined eye 15 km (9 mi) in diameter developed, and Higos rapidly intensified.[3] At 1200 UTC on September 29, Typhoon Higos reached its peak intensity. The JMA estimated 10 minute maximum sustained winds of 175 km/h (110 mph),[4] and the JTWC estimated 1 minute winds of 250 km/h (155 mph), which made Higos a super typhoon. After having moved west-northwestward for several days, Higos slowed and began turning to the north while it was at peak strength. Its change in movement was due to an eastward-moving trough creating a weakness in the ridge. The typhoon accelerated to the north-northeast toward Japan and gradually weakened due to increasing wind shear.[2]

Typhoon Higos approaching Japan on October 1

At around 1100 UTC on October 1, Higos passed just east of the Miura Peninsula with winds of 130 km/h (80 mph), about 30 minutes before making landfall in the eastern portion of Kanagawa Prefecture near Yokosuka.[4] Higos passed very near Tokyo around 1200 UTC that day,[3] becoming the third strongest typhoon to affect the city since World War II, according to the JTWC.[2] The typhoon weakened into a tropical storm while crossing Honshu. Higos briefly emerged over waters, before making a second landfall on Tomakomai, Hokkaidō at 2100 UTC on October 1. By that time, the storm was beginning to transition into an extratropical cyclone, and at 0600 UTC on October 2 Higos completed the transition.[4] Simultaneously, the JTWC discontinued advisories.[2] The storm continued to the north before crossing Sakhalin. The remnants dissipated on October 4 just west of the Kamchatka Peninsula.[4]

Preparations and impactEdit

Tropical Storm Higos near Northern Mariana Islands on September 28

Typhoon Higos first affected the Northern Marianas Islands, producing winds of 94 km/h (59 mph), with gusts to 183 km/h (114 mph) on Pagan Island.[3] The typhoon caused heavy crop damage in Agrigan and Alamagan, which led to food shortages on the islands.[5] As a result, officials from Saipan sent a boat to the islands with food donated by the local Red Cross chapter.[6]

Before Higos struck Japan, officials canceled 300 airplane flights, and also canceled train lines and ferry service.[7] Some baseball games were postponed, and businesses closed early. The typhoon affected outlying islands of Japan, causing power outages due to strong winds.[8] Upon making landfall in Japan, Higos produced strong winds that peaked at 104 km/h (65 mph) in Shizuoka. Winds in Tokyo reached 94 km/h (58 mph).[9] Stronger wind gusts were reported in Hokkaido after Higos became extratropical, including a peak gust of 161 km/h (100 mph) in Urakawa.[3] Several stations across Japan reported record-high wind gusts.[10] The typhoon also dropped torrential rainfall that peaked at 346 mm (13.6 in) in Hakone, Kanagawa; the same station reported a one-hour total of 80 mm (3.15 in).[9] The typhoon washed 25 boats ashore,[9] including a cargo ship on Izu-Oshima Island.[11] One woman was washed away by high surf.[7]

A total of 2,254 houses were flooded in the country,[9] forcing thousands of people to evacuate.[7] Overall, 2,694 houses were damaged, and another 12 were destroyed.[9] Many houses lost their roofs,[3] and high winds left 608,130 buildings without power in Honshu,[12] along with thousands of power on Hokkaido.[2] Two people were electrocuted by downed power lines.[3] High rainfall caused mudslides near Tokyo, which destroyed a few buildings, and caused the Tama River to reach above-normal levels.[7] Across Japan, the typhoon disrupted transportation by forcing highways to be closed.[11] Storm debris injured several people, and a steel window frame struck and killed a man in Yokohama. A tree fell onto a car, injuring one person.[7] Insured damage in Japan totaled ¥261 billion ($2.14 billion in 2002 USD).[nb 4] In Iwate Prefecture, there was about ¥8 billion ($73 million 2002 USD) in damage, mostly from damaged roads and public buildings. Agriculture damage in the prefecture exceeded ¥2 billion ($18.3 million in 2002 USD) for the first time since Typhoon Mireille in 1991.[14] There were five deaths, and 108 people were injured;[9] this included 55 people who were injured in Tokyo.[2]

After becoming extratropical, Higos affected the Kuril Islands and later Sakhalin.[11] Power was cut in 22 towns,[15] and ferry service was canceled.[11] On Sakhalin, high winds downed many trees, some of which blocked roads.[16] Six people were injured by fallen trees.[15] The remnants of Higos capsized two ships offshore Primorye, killing seven people.[17]


  1. ^ All damage totals are in 2002 United States dollars and Japanese yen unless otherwise noted.
  2. ^ The Joint Typhoon Warning Center is a joint United States Navy – United States Air Force task force that issues tropical cyclone warnings for the western Pacific Ocean and other regions.[1]
  3. ^ The Japan Meteorological Agency is the official Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the western Pacific Ocean.[4]
  4. ^ The total was originally reported in Yen. Total converted via the Oanda Corporation website.[13]


  1. ^ "Joint Typhoon Warning Center Mission Statement". Joint Typhoon Warning Center. 2011. Archived from the original on 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Super Typhoon (TY) 25W (Higos) (PDF) (Report). United States Navy. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Gary Padgett (2002). "Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summary September 2002". Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Annual Report on Activities of the RSMC Tokyo – Typhoon Center 2002 (PDF) (Report). Japan Meteorological Agency. 31. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  5. ^ "Food Supplies Run Out". Saipan Tribune. 2002-10-01. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  6. ^ "Aid Is On Its Way". Saipan Tribune. 2002-10-02. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  7. ^ a b c d e Mari Yamaguchi (2002-10-01). "Tokyo Hunkers Down as Powerful Typhoon Sideswipes City". Associated Press. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Typhoon bears down on Tokyo". 2002-09-29. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  9. ^ a b c d e f Typhoon 200221 (Higos) – Disaster Information (Report). Digital Typhoon. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  10. ^ "Four Dead, Scores Injured as Typhoon Higos Wrecks Havoc in Japan". Channel News Asia. 2002-10-02. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  11. ^ a b c d Guy Carpenter (2003-01-30). Tropical Cyclone Review 2002 (Report). Marsh & McLennan Companies. p. 21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  12. ^ "Typhoon Higos Leaves Four Dead, Over 50 Injured in Japan". Agence France-Presse. 2002-10-02. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Historical Exchange Rates". Oanda Corporation. 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  14. ^ "Typhoon 21 Causes Over $73 Mln Damages to Japan Iwate". Japanese Business Digest. 2004-10-15. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  15. ^ a b "Typhoon Higos Leaves More than 20 Settlements Without Electricity". RIA Novosti. 2002-10-03. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  16. ^ "Russia: Six people dead, eight missing after typhoon his Far Eastern island". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2002-10-04. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Seven dead, eight missing after two shipwrecks caused by typhoon in Russia's Far East". Associated Press. 2002-10-03. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)

External linksEdit