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The 1962 Central Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season


At 8 PM HST on July 29 the Joint Hurricane Warning Center (JHWC) in Hawaii, a coordinated agency composed of the U.S. Weather Bureau Honolulu, the Air Force Kunia Weather Center, and Fleet Weather Central Pearl Harbor issued an advisory on Tropical Depression #50 based on satellite imagery and surface map analysis.

It was located at 10.5N 161.9W, about 275 miles north of Palmyra Island. From there it proceeded 840 miles west-northwestward with no significant change in intensity to near 14.0N 177.0W where it dissipated. Advisories on the progress of the depression were issued at regular 6-hour intervals by JHWC throughout its life span.


Hurricane "C" was first located by Sadler at 1746 GMT on the 24th near 18.0N 139.8W. TIROS V obtained excellent observations of this cyclone on 6 days, and a reasonable track was determined. No conventional data were available, but when first detected by TIROS V the cyclone appeared to be of hurricane intensity with an eye and had reached the southeastern edge of a cold water area identified by stratocumulus clouds.

During the next 4 days the storm moved along the edge of the cold water near the 78F climatological mean sea surface isotherm. The storm decreased steadily in size and intensity but probably maintained severe tropical storm strength. During August 28-31 it moved towards increasing sea-surface and air temperatures--assuming mean conditions; from these considerations alone, intensification would have been expected. However, "C" passed under the upper tropical ridge between August 27 and August 29 into a region of southwesterly winds above 20,000 ft. A vertical shearing effect caused disintegration of the storm, and by the 28th there was no wall cloud around the clear center and only weak convective activity to the west.

Between August 24 and August 27 while the storm was embedded in deep easterlies, its forward speed was about 12 knots. Its speed dropped to 7 knots and its direction changed to northwest as the storm passed under the upper ridge. After August 29 the remnant shallow vortex was steered west-southwestward at 12 knots by low-level trades.

There were no TIROS photographs of storm "C" after August 31. Extrapolation suggests that the decaying vortex passed 200 miles south of Hilo, Hawaii about 1200 GMT on 2 September, but it could not be detected in Hilo's wind and weather time-section.


JHWC issued three advisories on this cyclone, named Tropical Depression #63, first located by satellite imagery at 16.5N 149W. Advisories were discontinued at 16.5N 151W, 275 miles east-southeast of South Point on the Big Island, when it was no longer considered a threat to the State or to shipping.


At 2116 GMT on Septgmber 28 a TIROS photo located a tropical cyclone near 9.5N 162.7W, estimated by Sadler as being of severe storm intensity and was designated storm "R".

"R" passed about 200 miles north of Palmyra Island and, even at this distance, produced west winds in the lower levels there for 42 hours. Surface winds with westerly components are very rare at Palmyra, occurring in less than one per cent of all observations (Sadler, 1957). RAWINSONDE data at six-hourly intervals, were taken at Palmyra from 18 September - 30 October 1962 in support of Johnston Island nuclear tests.


Tropical cyclone "T" was located near 21.0N 140.0W by Sadler in a TIROS photo taken at 1840 GMT on the 29th. This system was estimated to be at least of tropical storm strength.


A tropical cyclone of at least tropical storm strength was located near 13. N 147.6W from TIROS imagery made at 1910 GMT on the 2nd and was designated by Sadler (1963) as storm "X". Although the storm occurred during the time of the Johnston Island nuclear tests there were no observations other than the single TIROS photo which would enable further study of its history.


Storm "Z" as designated by Sadler was the fifth of this season in the Central Pacific. It was centered near 15.5N 170.5W, about 85 miles southwest of Johnston Island, using TIROS imagery taken at 2033 GMT. Although the center of the storm was quite close to Johnston Island, winds and weather reported there were not unusual.


This tropical cyclone was the last one located in the Central North Pacific by Sadler (1963) from TIROS imagery in 1962. It also was of at least tropical storm intensity and, unfortunately for historical purposes, was also not reported by any conventional means. Sadler located the center near 10N 155W, about 500 miles northeast of Palmyra Island, in a TIROS photo taken at 0124 GMT October 28, and labeled it storm "A".