Super Typhoon Vera
(T5915) was the strongest typhoon to hit Japan
in recorded history. With winds of 160 mph, Vera slammed into the southern coast of Japan, causing widespread damage and flooding, with over 5,000 dead. Japan Meteorological Agency
gave a special name to Vera: .
A low pressure area between Guam
slowly organized into a tropical storm on September 21
. Named Vera, it intensified to a typhoon the next day as it tracked northwestward. On the 23rd, Vera rapidly intensified, reaching peak winds of 190 mph winds that day. The winds, measured by reconnaissance aircraft, are subject to dispute due to the unknown conversion factors. Regardless, the supertyphoon was very intense with a pressure of 896 mb.
Unlike most super typhoons, which weaken due to upwelling or other outside factors, Vera remained very strong, slowly weakening as it continued northward. Strong divergence aloft and continued warm water temperatures allowed Vera to remain the equivalent of a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. On September 26, Vera struck the coast along the Kansai region of Japan with winds of 160 mph. The storm weakened over the Archipelago while rapidly moving the northeast, and re-emerged into the northern Pacific Ocean on the 27th as a minimal typhoon. It continued to the east, and became extratropical on the 28th.
As a result of its destruction, the Japan Meteorological Agency gave a special name to Vera: "Isewan Typhoon".
Vera will likely be recorded as one of Japan
's worst natural disasters. Heavy storm surge combined with flooding, as well as extreme winds, caused the deaths of 4,580 people with 658 missing. Vast areas of crops were destroyed, sea walls ruined, roads and railways greatly damaged, and overflown rivers contributed to a damage estimate of $261 million (1959 USD, $1.67 billion in 2005 USD). Over 32,000 people were injured, and 1,596,855 people were left homeless. The combination of the death toll and the great number of people left homeless contributed to large outbreaks of dysentery
and other epidemics.