Typhoon Nancy (1961)

Super Typhoon Nancy, also known as the 2nd Muroto Typhoon (第二室戸台風, Daini-muroto Taifū), was an extremely powerful tropical cyclone of the 1961 Pacific typhoon season and one of the most intense tropical cyclones on record. The system possibly had the strongest winds ever measured in a tropical cyclone, with 345 km/h (215 mph) winds, tied with Hurricane Patricia of 2015. Nancy caused extensive damage, as well as at least 202 deaths and nearly 5,000 injuries in Japan and elsewhere, in September 1961.

Super Typhoon Nancy
Category 5 super typhoon (SSHWS)
Super Typhoon Nancy 61.JPG
A radar image of Nancy
FormedSeptember 7, 1961
DissipatedSeptember 22, 1961
(Extratropical after September 16)
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 345 km/h (215 mph)
Lowest pressure882 hPa (mbar); 26.05 inHg
Fatalities202 (Officially Confirmed - 8 Missing)
Damage$500 million (1961 USD)
Areas affectedGuam, Ryūkyū Islands, Japan
Part of the 1961 Pacific typhoon season

Meteorological historyEdit

Map plotting the storm's track and intensity, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale
Map key
  Tropical depression (≤38 mph, ≤62 km/h)
  Tropical storm (39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h)
  Category 1 (74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h)
  Category 2 (96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h)
  Category 3 (111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h)
  Category 4 (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h)
  Category 5 (≥157 mph, ≥252 km/h)
Storm type
  Extratropical cyclone / Remnant low / Tropical disturbance / Monsoon depression

A tropical depression formed from a low-pressure area near Kwajalein Atoll on September 7. It strengthened rapidly; by the time position fixes could be taken, Nancy was nearly a super typhoon, on September 8. Moving gradually westward, Nancy explosively deepened and reached wind speeds equivalent to a Category 5 super typhoon (Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale) on September 9.[1] It would maintain that intensity for the next several days.

Shortly after reaching peak intensity, Nancy approached the Ryūkyū Islands and began turning. It passed near Okinawa and over Haze. The ridge steering Nancy broke down, and the typhoon turned sharply and headed towards Japan. Nancy made landfall as a strong typhoon on September 16 as it passed directly over Muroto Zaki. Nancy made a second landfall on Honshū near Osaka. The typhoon rapidly traveled up the length of the island as it continued accelerating, eventually reaching a forward speed of 65 mph (100 km/h, 55 knots).[2] The typhoon quickly crossed over Hokkaidō before entering the Sea of Okhotsk as a tropical storm. Nancy went extratropical on September 17. The extratropical system eventually crossed over Kamchatka and entered the open ocean.[3]


Significant typhoons with special names
(from the Japan Meteorological Agency)
Name Number Japanese name
Marie T5415 Toyamaru Typhoon(洞爺丸台風)
Ida T5822 Kanogawa Typhoon(狩野川台風)
Sarah T5914 Miyakojima Typhoon(宮古島台風)
Vera T5915 Isewan Typhoon(伊勢湾台風)
Nancy T6118 2nd Muroto Typhoon(第2室戸台風)
Cora T6618 2nd Miyakojima Typhoon(第2宮古島台風)
Della T6816 3rd Miyakojima Typhoon(第3宮古島台風)
Babe T7709 Okinoerabu Typhoon(沖永良部台風)
Faxai T1915 Reiwa 1 Bōsō Peninsula Typhoon(令和元年房総半島台風)
Hagibis T1919 Reiwa 1 East Japan Typhoon(令和元年東日本台風)

Although no monetary value of all damage is known, damage was "phenomenal"[2] in all areas where Nancy hit. There were at least 194 deaths and 8 people unaccounted for, according to Japanese government official confirmation.


On Guam, over half of all crops were destroyed by heavy winds and rain. A total of $40,000 (1961 USD) worth of damage was done to roads on the island. Most of the damage was on the southern end of the island. No deaths were reported on Guam.[2]


In Japan, according to Japan Fire and Disaster Management Agency official confirmed report, 194 people were killed, 8 were missing, and 4,972 people were injured. These totals made Nancy the sixth-deadliest typhoon to hit Japan at the time. Timely warnings and adequate preparations were probably responsible for the relatively low death toll. The damage was "small" relative to other typhoons that impacted densely populated areas of Japan.[2]

Hundreds of thousands of people had their lives disrupted. Super Typhoon Nancy destroyed 11,539 houses, damaged 32,604 homes, and flooded 280,078 others. Although the exact number may never be known, the Stars and Stripes reported in late September 1961 that over 1,056 ships and fishing vessels were sunk or blown ashore, and that many more were damaged.[2]

Floodwaters washed away 566 bridges and caused 1146 landslides. Roads were destroyed at a total of 2,053 locations.[2] Damages in Osaka amounted to $500 million (1961 USD).[5]

On Okinawa, low-lying areas experienced heavy flooding, which did significant damage to agriculture and structures.[2] On Amami-o-Shima, one person was missing and another was badly injured. A ship was sunk. Extensive flooding of crops and houses left 152 people homeless.[2]

Due to Nancy's damage and death toll, the Japan Meteorological Agency named Nancy the "Second Muroto Typhoon". Nancy is one of only ten typhoons to receive special names in Japan.


Most intense Pacific typhoons
Typhoon Season Pressure
hPa inHg
1 Tip 1979 870 25.7
2 June 1975 875 25.8
Nora 1973
4 Forrest 1983 876[6] 25.9
5 Ida 1958 877 25.9
6 Rita 1978 878 26.0
7 Kit 1966 880 26.0
Vanessa 1984
9 Nancy 1961 882 26.4
10 Irma 1971 884 26.1
11 Nina 1953 885 26.1
Joan 1959
Megi 2010
Source:JMA Typhoon Best Track Analysis
Information for the North Western Pacific Ocean.[7]

A reconnaissance aircraft flying into the typhoon near its peak intensity on September 12 determined Nancy's one-minute sustained winds to be 185 knots (215 mph; 345 km/h). If these values are reliable, they would be the highest wind speeds ever measured in a tropical cyclone.[8] However, it was later determined that measurements and estimations of wind speeds from the 1940s to 1960s were excessive. Thus, Nancy's winds may actually be lower than its official best-track value.[8] In 2016, reanalysis of Hurricane Patricia noted that the storm had the same sustained winds as Nancy, the highest on record in the Western Hemisphere.[9]

Although the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS) did not exist at the time, Nancy would have been a Category 5 equivalent for a total of five and a half days (or 132 hours), assuming the wind speed data are reliable. If so, this is the record for the Northern Hemisphere and more than a day longer than the runner-up system, 1962's Typhoon Karen.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Unisys Tracking Data Archived May 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine accessed March 7, 2006
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h JTWC Nancy Report Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine accessed March 7, 2006
  3. ^ Digital Typhoon: Typhoon list View accessed March 7, 2006
  4. ^ "気象庁が名称を定めた気象・地震・火山現象一覧" (in Japanese). Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  5. ^ David Longshore Encyclopedia of Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones pg. 233
  6. ^ "World Tropical Cyclone Records". World Meteorological Organization. Arizona State University. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  7. ^ Japan Meteorological Agency. "RSMC Best Track Data (Text)" (TXT).
  8. ^ a b NOAA Tropical Cyclone FAQ Subject E1 Archived December 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine accessed March 7, 2006
  9. ^ Feltgen, Dennis (February 4, 2016). "Tropical Cyclone Report for 2015's Hurricane Patricia Released" (PDF) (Press release). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  10. ^ NOAA Tropical Cyclone FAQ Subject E8 Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine accessed March 7, 2006

External linksEdit