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The 1963 Central Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season


Tropical Depression #19 was tracked by the JHWC at Honolulu from 6N 163W, just west of Palmyra Island, due west to 6N 177.9W. Thirteen advisories were issued by the JHWC on this cyclone.


This particular tropical cyclone was not numbered or named but probably should have been. Surface map analyses and several TIROS photographs were helpful in tracking it.

A disturbed area in the trade wind belt was observed moving westward along latitude 12N well to the south of the Hawaiian Islands from the 2nd to the 6th. A veering east- southeasterly surface wind of 30 knots was observed at Johnston Island on the 6th as the cyclone passed to the south.

On the 7th a well-defined cyclonic circulation was event as the storm commenced moving northward near longitude 167W. Several vessels encountered gale force winds in this storm from the 8th through the 10th as it proceeded northward across the shipping lanes. Among these vessels were the CANADA BEAR, CHOCKTAW, JOHANNES MAERSK, and the MAUNEE. On the 12th the remnants of the cyclone dissipated near 50N 165W.


Tropical Storm IRAH, the first of the September 1963 tropical cyclones in the Eastern North Pacific, was detected on the 12th near 19N 125W with winds estimated 50 knots. At this time the MERCURY, south of the center, reported winds southwest 40 knots and the ROLAND, northeast of the center, reported southeast winds 25 knots. Subsequent reports from the MERCURY gale winds of 45 knots and seas of 18 feet while the ROLAND had 30 knots and moderate to heavy seas.

IRAH moved along a westerly course to 21N 138W at 1800 GMT on the 14th, when it was downgraded to Tropical Depression #09 by the Fleet Weather Central, Alameda. After the cyclone crossed the 140th parallel, advisories on it were picked up by the JHWC at Honolulu which re-designated it Tropical Depression #31 and noted the center position as 23.7N 150.7W at 16/0900 GMT. The depression continued westward to 23.2N 155.7W, about 180 miles due north of Upolu Point on the Island of Hawaii, at 17/0300 GMT. From there it suddenly began to move quite rapidly southwestward at 17-18 knots. Shortly after midnight on the 17th the center of the vortex was in the Molokai Channel. Generally moderate rainfall was observed throughout the Hawaiian Islands on the 17th as TD #31 continued southwestward. Highest wind speeds reported on the 17th were southeasterly 36 m.p.h. at the Honolulu Weather Bureau Airport Station and northeasterly 32 m.p.h. at Lihue Airport.

By the afternoon of the 17th when the vortex was well southwest of the State near 20N 161W it began a very erratic track westward to the International Date Line. A TIROS satellite photo taken on the 29th, locating it near 25N 175E, probably was the last sign of this system as it continued to weaken while moving through the sparse data area east of Wake Island.

The JHWC at Honolulu issued 16 advisories on this cyclone