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The 1966 Central Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season
Squalls and showers covered a large area of the tropical Eastern North Pacific during the latter part of July. Hurricane BLANCA developed from an area which was first analyzed on a 0 surface chart as a tropical disturbance on July 31, near 15N 110W. By August 2 that disturbance was sufficiently developed to be classified as a tropical depression. The first advisory was issued by FLEWEACEN Alameda with the center at 15.9N 114.0W, about 150 miles south of the Revillagigedo Islands.
Tropical storm strength was reached 6 hours later as the cyclone headed west northwest at about 10 knots with maximum winds of 55 knots, estimated partly on the basis of a report from the 14,192-ton bulk carrier INGER of 35-knot winds, heavy continuous rain and a 1004.3 mb (29.66") pressure.
By the afternoon f the 4th the storm increased to hurricane strength near 20N 126W, but maintained winds of 65 knots for only 18 hours. It was downgraded to a tropical storm with 60 knot winds at 21N 130W at 05/1800Z. Continued weakening diminished the storm, to a depression on the afternoon of the 6th as it approached 14OW--the meridional divider between the Eastern and Central North Pacific. Advisories were dropped by that evening since BLANCA could no longer be identified as a closed circulation from ship reports or satellite pictures Remnants of the storm moved northwestward until near 22N 142W (based on a report from the TROLLGAR and satellite photos) it reintensified to a tropical storm.
BLANCA continued northwestward at about 15 knots to 31N 159W with maximum winds of 40-50 knots. By the afternoon of the 11th the storm had again weakened to tropical depression status. Further weakening made it impossible to find so the depression was dropped and the last advisory was issued at 12/0000Z.
The path of BLANCA was one of the longest on record to that date for a tropical cyclone developing in the Eastern North Pacific. From its beginning as a tropical disturbance on July 31 to its dissipation on August 11 the storm traveled 4,300 miles. Hurricane/typhoon DELLA in 1957 had a slightly longer path but was of Central North Pacific origin. DELLA's track was approximately 5,000 miles long.
BLANCA was observed by three satellites each day, by Air Force reconnaissance, by civil aircraft of at least four nations, and by merchant vessels of diverse registry.
Hurricane CONNIE was first detected as a tropical storm early on the 7th near 14N 122W. CONNIE, tracked by satellite as it moved westward intensified slowly and on the 10th maximum winds reached 60 knots while gale force winds extended out 100 miles in all directions. The storm, located near 14N 131W shortly after midnight on the 10th, moved west-northwestward (towards the Hawaiian Islands) for the next 48 hours with little change in intensity.
On the 13th, some 700 miles east-southeast of Hilo, CONNIE reached hurricane intensity and began moving westward again. Maximum sustained surface winds reached 86 knots with gales extending out 200 miles in all directions.
Late on the 15th, about 400 miles east-southeast of Hilo, CONNIE decreased to tropical storm intensity as winds dropped to 45 knots. The storm, continuing westward, passed about 120 miles south of South Point on the Big Island and on the 17th degenerated to a weak depression about 270 miles south of Oahu.
The 86-knot winds achieved by CONNIE were the highest reported or estimated in any of the Pacific tropical cyclones east of the International Date Line during 1966.
No significantly unusual wind or weather reports have been found for any of the Hawaiian Islands for the period when CONNIE passed to the south of the chain, although moderate to locally heavy rainfall was observed on the Big Island and Maui on the 17th.
Tropical Storm GRETCHEN was first identified late on the 7th from satellite photos. The storm was located near 17N 129W with maximum winds of 48 knots. It was small. Before it had a chance to develop it was nearly absorbed by a larger storm, Hurricane FRANCESCA, which approached GRETCHEN from the east. In the process of affecting GRETCHEN, FRANCESCA also weakened to tropical storm intensity, looped in a figure 8 and dissipated a few days later. After being disorganized by FRANCESCA, GRETCHEN plunged to the southwest and was last located near 13N 142.5W.
Tropical Depression #22 was first located at 15.3N 149.0W at 10/1800 GMT. It moved westward, passing 240 miles south of South Point on the Island of Hawaii shortly after midnight on the 12th. The cyclone continued westward till near noon of that day and soon thereafter lost its identity. The JHWC in Honolulu issued ten advisories on this system. No unusual wind or weather reports directly attributable to this depression have been located from any of the regularly reporting Hawaiian stations. However, moderate to locally heavy rainfall was observed on all of the islands on the 12th.