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The 1967 Central Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season


A vortex that was never named or numbered was followed "post mortem" by Sadler using satellite imagery. It was first located at 62N 137W on the 4th and moved slowly northwestward to 16N 142W on the 6th. It then-moved rapidly west-northwestward to 17N 152W. Taking a heading due west it moved south of the Islands between the 7th and 8th bringing copious rainfall to the State. Heaviest precipitation amounts were recorded on the Big Island with Kaumana reporting over 8 inches, and Kipa and Papaikou Mauka over 10 inches. Two to three-inch amounts were not uncommon on Kauai, Oahu and Molokai.

The vortex had all the characteristics of at least a tropical depression and was followed by Sadler to 18N 162W on the 8th. The closest approach of the center to the State was 60 miles south of South Point, Hawaii.


Tropical Storm DENISE evolved from a tropical depression located near 15N 112W late on the 8th. The depression had its origin in a loosely organized area of squalls which had first appeared on satellite photos near 10N 96W late on the 5th.

DENISE became a tropical storm on the 9th when maximum sustained surface winds were estimated 40 knots. The storm moved west-northwestward reaching 17N 120W on the 10th with 55-knot winds near the center and 50-knot winds extending out 30 miles in all directions. Twenty-four hours later maximum winds dropped to 35 knots and DENISE moved westward into the Central Pacific. Satellite photos taken on the 15th indicated DENISE dropped below tropical storm intensity near 16N 147W. The.vortical remnants of DENISE continued westward along latitude 16N. They passed 180 miles south of South Point on the Big Island between the 16th and 17th. During that time most of the islands received light to moderate rainfall. Locally heavy amounts to near 6 inches were observed on the Big Island.

Using satellite imagery, Sadler followed the weakening vortex to near Johnston Island on the 18th.


Tropical Storm ELEANOR formed in the wake of Tropical Storm DENISE late on the 13th. It was first detected near 17N 121W, close to where DENISE had passed two days earlier. Maximum winds on the 13th were estimated at 45 knots. Early the next day the storm was generating 55-knot winds close to its center. The CHEVRON TRANSPORTER 100 miles northeast of the center reported 40-knot winds.

ELEANOR continued west-northwestward as a tropical storm to 20N 135W on the 16th where it began to weaken.

Sadler, in his unpublished research on the unusual 1967 summer rainfall in Hawaii. followed the remnants of ELEANOR as a well defined vortex to 27N 158W on the 21st. From the 20th to the 21st it passed about 250 miles northeast of Maui, Molokai and Oahu. The vortex was strong enough to disrupt the trade wind flow, causing a convective pattern over the State which was orographically enhanced on the Big Island. This combination of events caused one of those anomalous occurrences for which forecasters must always be on the lookout, so as not to be caught unawares.

Heavy showers and thunderstorms were widespread over the State on the 20th, 21st and 22nd. Small hail occurred at the ranger station on the upper slopes of Haleakala on Maui and "heavy hail" was reported from the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Some higher canefields between Napili and Honolua on Maui's west coast were flooded. Several 2-inch rainfall amounts were observed on Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Maui while reports as high as 9 inches were received from the Big Island.


Climatological records mention 77 rainfall reporting stations in the State during this time. On each day of the month, an average of 40 of them had rainfall. The 3 vortexes on July 7 and 8, 16 and 17, and on the 20th, 21st and 22nd accounted for more than half of the monthly rainfall over the State. See Figures 5 and 6. Previous July rainfall totals for stations on Lanai and Maui, with continuous records ranging from 37 to 58 years, were broken. Every reporting gage on Lanai showed rainfall totals 3 to 50 times its July mean.

Sadler's analyses derived from studies of satellite imagery indicate that the summer of 1967 was anomalous in cloud cover all the way around the globe.


Another unnamed and unnumbered vortex detailed and followed by Sadler in his "postmortem" analysis of the 1967 tropical cyclone season was first located on August 2 in the most favored area for tropical cyclone genesis--near 10N 112W.

The vortex proceeded west-northwestward to 19N 138W by the 6th. From there it headed due west and passed directly over South Point on the Big Island on the 8th. After reaching 19N 158W on the 9th it began moving northwestward, 125 miles in the lee of the islands, and finally dissipated on the 10th near 21.5N 164.5W--about 175 miles southeast of French Frigate Shoals (Figure 7).

During this month there were 78 active rainfall reporting stations. Each day an average of 30 of these stations had rain. (Figure 8).

A sum over the stations of 245.44 inches of rainfall, nearly half of the total for the month, was recorded during the approach and passage of this vortex, which Sadler called Storm "B".

Intermittent flooding occurred in the Hilo area when over a foot of rain fell between the evening of the 7th and the morning of the 9th. Minor landslides were reported on the Belt Highway north of Hilo, and a flash flood stranded a movie company for several hours on the 9th.

The heavy rains reached Oahu on the morning of the 8th resulting in several minor rockslides, one which closed a lane on the Pali Highway, and some overflowing of streams in Kipapa and Waiawa. An Aina Haina home was nearly destroyed by a mud and rock slide about 10:30 a.m. on the 9th. Three-day (8th to 10th) rainfall amounts on Oahu were generally 3 to 4 inches along the leeward coastal plain and 6 to 8 inches in the mountains. At Helemanu Intake, in the Koolau Mountains, 3.65 inches of rain fell during one hour on the morning of the 9th.

The weakening vortex moved to the lee of Kauai late on the 9th, depositing 2 to 3 inches of rain. At Princeville on Kauai's north coast, more than 1.5 inches fell so rapidly during the morning of the 10th that the recording rain gage trace did not permit an accurate time estimate. Some flooding occurred on the Hanapepe, Hanalei, and Wailua rivers.


This unnamed and unnumbered vortex was also found by Sadler during his research. He called it vortex "C" (Figure 7). "C" had its beginnings, (indicated by satellite photos), near 12.5N 121W on the 6th. It proceeded west-northwestward throughout its life, finally dying near 23N 158W.

Although this vortex passed much closer to the windward side of the islands than the vortex of ELEANOR in July, it did not have a similar effect on the local weather. A plausible reason may have been the negating effects of the vortex next described.


Another unnumbered and unnamed vortex was found by Sadler to have formed southwest of "C" on the Intertropical Convergence Zone on the 10th. He called it vortex "D" with initial point of discovery, from satellite photos, at 12N 142W.

In later discussions, Sadler again mentioned that "during an active tropical cyclone season more storms seem to start further west" in the area east of the International Date Line. Moreover, it seems that during an active season more storms seem to start further east in the Western Pacific.

Be that as it may, vortex "D" continued in a regular path to the northwest at 12-13 knots, passing about 250 miles to the lee of the Islands at the same time vortex "C" was passing to the windward side.

Associated rainfall over the State, whether it be attributed to either or both "C" and "D", was spotty. A few 3-inch totals were observed on Kauai and Oahu while some 2-inch totals fell on Molokai, Maui, and the Big Island.


A multiple-station total of nearly 500 inches (499.92 inches) was reported over the State during the month. Forty-nine per cent of that amount was directly attributable to the passage of storm "B". Most of the rainfall was beneficial to the welfare and economy of the State, reminding us that tropical cyclones can be "beauty" as well as "beast".

Among stations whose greatest previous August rainfall totals were exceeded this month were 9 on Oahu with lengths of record ranging from 39 to 53 years; 1 on Molokai with a 75-year length of record; 3 on Maui with records ranging from 25 to 61 years; and 2 on the Big Island with 61 years of record.


Hurricane/Typhoon Sarah was no problem for Hawaii but is well remembered at Wake Island. SARAH was already an organized tropical storm packing winds of 40 knots near its center when first observed by ESSA II on the 8th near 11.2N 149.2W.

Moving northwest at a forward speed of 15 knots the storm intensified. By the 10th SARAH was a full-fledged hurricane generating 65-knot winds. As SARAH moved along some 300 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands, she dropped back to tropical storm intensity. On the 11th she turned westward after reaching 18.4N 164.4W. Tropical storm SARAH crossed the International Date Line at 18N between 140000Z and 140600Z while slowly intensifying and headed for Wake Island where Typhoon OPAL had passed about 60 nautical miles to the south on August 31 and September 1.

On the 15th SARAH became a raging typhoon in the western North Pacific. By the 16th maximum sustained surface winds measured 120 knots. Now, at peak intensity, typhoon SARAH engulfed Wake Island. The eye was over Wake at 161040Z with a central pressure of 933 mb (27.55"). Seas were whipped over the island by winds estimated at 130 knots (highest winds observed were 85 knots with gusts to 116 knots before equipment was damaged). Torrential rains battered the tiny outpost; buildings were ripped apart and the control tower was badly damaged and abandoned. Dependents of operational personnel of the island were evacuated the next day.

This was the third tropical cyclone since the beginning of observations in 1935 to bring typhoon-force winds to Wake Island. An unnamed typhoon on October 19 in 1940 (Tomita, 1968) brought 120-knot winds and OLIVE in 1952 had lashed the island with 150-knot winds. OLIVE's attack on the island occurred on the 16th of September--exactly 15 years prior to that of SARAH.

SARAH continued westward for the next two days. At 1200 GMT on the 18th she was centered near 20N 158E generating 100-knot winds. The typhoon then swung northwestward and early on the 20th the SANTA CLARA VICTORY encountered 70-knot winds just 60 miles northeast of the storm's center. A few hours later the ALICE BROWN also reported 70-knot winds some 50 miles east of the center. On the 20th SARAH recurved to the northeast after crossing the 30th parallel near 150E.

Moving into the northern latitudes the typhoon began to acquire extratropical characteristics. She still packed a powerful punch, however, as attested by the CITADEL which met 64 knot winds about 80 miles east of the center during the afternoon of the 21st. Later on that day SARAH became extratropical near 39N 154E.

Even then SARAH did not want to give up. The S. ROSA MARU reported typhoon force winds at 40N 156E at 1200 GMT on the 22nd. The storm moved east for 2 days before being absorbed into another circulation late on the 24th near 44N 162W. The new system moved northeast toward Alaska's Seward Peninsula. Hurricane-force winds were reported on the 25th by the TORYO MARU, the KOHOH MARU, and the USC&GSS PATHFINDER. The storm weakened on the 26th as it made landfall about 100 nautical miles south-southwest of Anchorage.

JTWC calculations showed the SARAH track across the Western North Pacific to be 4499 miles while FWC Pearl Harbor measurements recorded 1925 miles in the Central North Pacific--a total of 6124 miles.

At least three other items of interest to forecasters regarding SARAH are worthy of further consideration. They are:

  1. The 1967 Annual Typhoon Report published by FWC/JTWC at Guam stated as initial impetus (of SARAH): "Development of divergence at 270-0 mb level over surface cyclonic circulation". That statement is of interest since very likely present day analysis techniques with more available data could show that the initial impetus was due to the surface development being induced by upper divergence (Sadler 1976).
  2. Sadler's hypothesis that in an active tropical cyclone season more storms seem to develop further west in the Central and Eastern North Pacific.
  3. Westerly low level winds associated with northward displacement of the monsoon trough prevailed at Guam during the summer and extended east-northeastward to Midway Island.
1967: Tropical Storm Sarah
Wind Speed
09/08/1800 11.2 149.2 40 Tropical Storm
09/09/0000 11.4 150.3 60 "
09/09/0600 11.7 151.8 60 "
09/09/1200 12.5 153.6 60 "
09/09/1800 13.1 155.3 60 "
09/10/0000 14.0 156.7 55 "
09/10/0600 14.5 158.1 55 "
09/10/1200 15.0 160.0 55 "
09/10/1800 15.6 161.2 55 "
09/11/0000 16.3 162.0 65 Hurricane Cat. 1
09/11/0600 16.8 163.3 65 "
09/11/1200 17.4 164.3 60 Tropical Storm
09/11/1800 18.0 165.4 60 "
09/12/0000 18.4 166.6 55 "
09/12/0600 18.5 168.2 55 "
09/12/1200 18.4 169.5 55 "
09/12/1800 18.2 170.7 55 "
09/13/0000 18.0 172.1 50 "
09/13/0600 18.0 173.9 50 "
09/13/1200 18.0 175.8 55 "
09/13/1800 18.0 177.7 60 "
09/14/0000 18.0 179.4 60 "


Tropical Storm RAMONA was detected as a developing circulation from a satellite photo ta en at 2826 GMT on the 20th. The center was located at 12.5N 115.0W. By late on 2st it was evident from satellite imagery that the cyclone intensified to tropical storm strength at 13.5N 11W. RAMONA then moved west-southwestward, weakened, and was downgraded t tropical depression with its center near 11.0N 142W.

Regeneration then began and the storm reached minimum tropical storm intensity after taking a northerly path from 1 to 12N along the 140th meridian and then abruptly turning west.

The path westward was continued, with RAMONA still in tropical storm stage, to 12N 147W. At that point the cyclone once again headed nearly due north, once again weakened, and finally dissipated near 24N 148W late on the 3rd.

1967: Tropical Storm Ramona
Wind Speed
10/29/0600 15.8 140.5 25 Tropical Depression
10/29/1200 15.9 141.1 25 "
10/29/1800 15.9 141.9 35 Tropical Storm
10/30/0000 16.0 142.6 45 "
10/30/0600 16.1 143.0 45 "
10/30/1200 16.2 143.3 45 "
10/30/1800 16.3 143.9 45 "
10/31/0000 16.4 144.5 45 "
10/31/0600 16.4 144.8 45 "
10/31/1200 16.5 145.2 45 "
10/31/1800 16.6 145.6 45 "
11/01/0000 16.6 146.0 45 "
11/01/0600 16.7 146.4 45 "
11/01/1200 16.8 146.7 45 "
11/01/1800 17.0 147.1 45 "
11/02/0000 17.2 147.4 45 "
11/02/0600 17.6 147.6 45 "
11/02/1200 18.0 147.7 45 "
11/02/1800 18.7 147.7 45 "
11/03/0000 19.5 147.6 45 "
11/03/0600 21.0 147.6 45 "
11/03/1200 22.5 147.7 45 "