Western Pacific Tropical Cyclone Climatology – February

February Tropical Cyclone Tracks – Japan Meteorological Agency Best Track (1951-2016)
Cyan dots denote winds 65 to 115 km/h. Yellow dots denote winds 120 km/h or greater.

Welcome to February.  Last month we mentioned how January tends to be a quiet month.  February bests that mark across the Western Pacific basin.  Over the 66 years of the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) best track data, a tropical cyclone exists in the month of February roughly once every four years (0.27 per year). This includes tropical cyclones that formed in January, but persisted into the month of February. In 2016, no tropical cyclones existed in February while 2015 featured Typhoon Higos, which was rated as a “Super Typhoon” by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

The bulk of tropical cyclone activity is focused on the Philippine Sea with some activity occurring through the western Caroline Islands, to include Palau and Yap state of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).  That said, risk on an annual basis is very low as this is the quiet time of the year.  Tropical cyclones within a 200 km radius of the aforementioned landmasses occur roughly once per decade.  Below is a statistical average of tropical cyclones to affect a region per year based on the JMA best track data, in no particular order.

  • Southeast Luzon, Philippines — 0.02 / yr
  • Visayas, Philippines — 0.05 / yr
  • Mindanao, Philippines — 0.05 / yr
  • Palau — 0.06 / yr
  • Yap, FSM — 0.05 / yr
  • Chuuk, FSM — 0.05 / yr
  • Pohnpei, FSM — 0.05 / yr
  • Kosrae, FSM — 0.02 / yr
  • Northern Mariana Islands — 0.02 / yr
  • Guam — 0.02 /yr

No tropical cyclones are recorded to have made landfall elsewhere in the Asian continent during the month of February, to include the Indochina peninsula, China, Taiwan, the Korean peninsula, and Japan.

Bottom line, it should be quiet for the month, but never let your guard down.  It only takes one storm to cause a disaster, so be prepared!  -Mike



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