Today in History: A Storm Big Enough to Cover Half the Western U.S.

Today in History: A Storm Big Enough to Cover Half the Western U.S.

M.C. Millman

Known as the largest tropical cyclone ever recorded, Super Typhoon Tip ripped across the Western Pacific on today's date 44 years ago. 

The storm reached a wind speed of 190 miles per hour on October 12, 1979, and a world record low sea level pressure of 870 hPa (25.69 in Hg). 

The storm's intensity was almost as impressive as its size. According to an analysis published in 1980 by George Dunnavan and John Diercks, Tip's diameter of circulation spanned nearly 1,380 miles. 

To put the size of the typhoon into perspective, Scientific American describes the record-breaking storm's diameter as the equivalent distance from New York City to Dallas. The size of Super Typhoon Tip was also nearly double the previous record set by Typhoon Marge in 1951 of 700 miles in diameter. 

Super Typhoon Tip's intensity dimmed as it approached Southern Japan. It made landfall as a tropical storm on October 19 at the Japanese island of Honshu. The Mariners Weather Log reports that although weakened, the storm was still incredibly intense and claimed the lives of 86 people and injured hundreds. Flooding destroyed over 22,000 homes and led to around 600 landslides. 

Flooding led to a fuel storage fire when it breached a fuel-retaining wall at Camp Fuji, a joint US-Japanese military training center. The fire resulted in 13 casualties and 68 injuries.

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