Typhoon Ewiniar (2006)

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Typhoon Ewiniar (Ester)
Typhoon  ( JMA)
Category 4 super typhoon ( SSHS)
Typhoon Ewiniar at its peak as a Category 4 super typhoon on the JTWC's scale

Typhoon Ewiniar at its peak as a Category 4 super typhoon on the JTWC's scale
Formed June 29, 2006
Dissipated July 11, 2006
100 knots (185 km/h, 115 mph) (10-minute sustained)
130 knots (240 km/h, 150 mph) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure 930  hPa ( mbar)
Damage Exact amount unknown, at least $250,000 estimated (2006 USD)
Fatalities At least 40 (mostly indirect)1
Palau, Yap, eastern China, Ryūkyū Islands of Japan, South Korea, North Korea
Part of the
2006 Pacific typhoon season

Typhoon Ewiniar (international designation: 0603, JTWC designation: 04W, designated Typhoon Ester by PAGASA and sometimes called Super Typhoon Ewiniar) was the third named storm of the 2006 Pacific typhoon season and one that lasted for twelve days as a tropical cyclone, moving on a generally northward track. During its lifespan, it affected Palau, Yap, eastern China, the Ryūkyū Islands of Japan, South Korea as well as North Korea, briefly threatening to make landfall in North Korea before doing so in South Korea. Ewiniar is responsible for at least 40 deaths.

Storm history

Storm path
Storm path

On June 29, a persistent tropical disturbance was classified as a tropical depression by the JTWC while east of Palau. The depression moved northwestward and was upgraded to Tropical Storm 04W by the JTWC the next day on June 30, while the JMA named the storm Tropical Storm Ewiniar at around the same time. The name "Ewiniar" was submitted by the Federated States of Micronesia, and refers to a traditional storm god of Chuuk.

Ewiniar moved west-northwestward over the next two days, bringing heavy rain and localized flooding to the Yap Islands. Ewiniar turned to the northwest and reached its peak intensity of 130 knots (240 km/h or 150 mph) on the U.S. method of measuring windspeeds by one-minute averages, or 100 knots (185 km/h or 115 mph) on the international method of measuring windspeeds by ten-minute averages, and its minimum pressure of 930 hPa (mbar). Ewiniar turned northward and brushed eastern China, forcing evacuations in many cities.

Ewiniar gradually weakened as it moved over colder waters, and made landfall in South Korea on July 10 as a severe tropical storm, having briefly threatened to make landfall on impoverished North Korea. Ewiniar passed within 50 km (30 miles) of Seoul as it moved across the country before becoming extratropical over the Sea of Japan the next day.

Ewiniar had also earlier brushed the Ryūkyū Islands of Japan.


People's Republic of China

As Ewiniar started to threaten the coast of China, the government in Beijing ordered emergency evacuations for all villagers in low-lying areas. A reported 7,634 people were evacuated from Ningbo, and over 8,000 ships were asked to return to dock in harbours in Ningbo and Zhoushan. The municipal flood control headquarters in Shanghai also asked officials to prepare for the approaching typhoon, which was forecast to begin affecting the city on July 9.


As Ewiniar started to approach the Ryūkyū Islands, Sasebo Naval Base in Kyūshū announced a Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 at 4 p.m. local time on July 7, while a day earlier, on July 6, the USS Harpers Ferry had unanchored from the harbour for an area of safer weather conditions. The USS Essex also evacuated the area on July 7. The USS Juneau and USS Bowditch, however, both remained anchored in Sasebo, while the USS Guardian and USS Safeguard were both moved to a nearby dry dock.

Ewiniar southwest of Jeju Island shortly before landfall on the Korean Peninsula.
Ewiniar southwest of Jeju Island shortly before landfall on the Korean Peninsula.

All United States Military stations and bases on Okinawa were put into a Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2 on July 7 with an upgrade to a Condition of Readiness 1 expected the following day, and Commander's Cup softball tournaments that had been scheduled for the weekend of July 8 and July 9 at Camp Hansen and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma had to be postponed. Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1E, which means that all outdoor activities are prohibited as there are sustained winds of at least 50 knots (95 km/h, 60 mph) in force, was declared early on the morning of July 9.

South Korea

As Ewiniar cleared the Ryūkyū Islands and began to threaten the Korean Peninsula, the Korea Meteorological Administration issued typhoon warnings for most of the country. The KMA also issued typhoon advisories for Dokdo and Ulleungdo.

United States Navy commands in South Korea were put into a Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness level 3, with Condition of Readiness 2 declared on July 8. TCCOR Level 1 was later declared by United States Forces Korea, which was cancelled after landfall on July 10.


Ewiniar affected many areas due to its track and relatively long life, killing at least 40 people along the way and leaving much damage in its path.

Total rainfall from June 29 through July 10 in the Western North Pacific. The areas with the most rainfall mark out Ewiniar's track. The moderate to isolated heavy rainfall near the top of the image is unrelated to Typhoon Ewiniar.
Total rainfall from June 29 through July 10 in the Western North Pacific. The areas with the most rainfall mark out Ewiniar's track. The moderate to isolated heavy rainfall near the top of the image is unrelated to Typhoon Ewiniar.

Yap and Palau

Early in its life as a tropical cyclone, Ewiniar affected Yap and Palau, which fall under the warning jurisdiction of the National Weather Service office in Tiyan, Guam. Ewiniar caused coastal flooding in Yap of up to 5 feet (1.5 m), especially near the port and around the Colonia Bay area. Ewiniar also caused an island-wide power outage in Yap, although according to an NWS post-storm report, damage was minimised on Yap due to steadier structures after Super Typhoon Sudal of 2004 tore through the islands. Damage was also reported to agriculture due to salt spray. The total amount of damage caused was estimated to be just over $100 thousand (2006 USD).

About 2.4 inches (61 mm) of rain fell on Yap, while Koror in Palau reported a 24-hour total of 1.88 inches (48 mm) of rain through 6 a.m. UTC on July 3. The peak wind gusts reported were 53 knots (98 km/h, 61 mph) on Yap at the Weather Service Office (WSO) in Yap and 46 knots (85 km/h, 53 mph) at the WSO in Koror. During its course through the islands, Tropical Storm Ewiniar also necessitated tropical storm warnings and watches for Ngulu, Yap, Koror and Kayangel. No deaths in Yap or Palau were reported due to Ewiniar.

People's Republic of China

Typhoon Ewiniar killed at least 34 people in China, with areas as far northwest as Gansu and Shanxi affected by landslides. It is not known if the landslides were triggered directly as a result of Ewiniar, or whether it was caused by a combination of Ewiniar and other weather. Therefore, the deaths that can be attributed to Ewiniar from the landslides are assumed to be indirectly caused, and not directly. Average rainfall reported in Shandong was 3.4 mm (0.133 inches) per hour from 6 a.m. July 9 through midnight July 10 (totalling about 61.2 mm or 2.4 inches). At least 300 flights out of Beijing's Capital International Airport had to be delayed due to thunderstorms and effects of Ewiniar, while Air China and China Eastern Airlines cancelled flights to South Korea heading out of China.

As Ewiniar did not affect the mainland directly, there are little to no reports of major damage.


Ewinar hammered Okinawa with heavy rain, creating mass confusion and troubles for tourists. Flights and ferries out of Okinawa to neighbouring islands were cancelled, and as many as 3,500 tourists were left stranded at various airports because most hotels were already near full capacity. Other tourists reportedly stayed in the homes of some Okinawa residents, while some residents in landslide-prone areas evacuated to higher ground.

The highest winds reported during the storm were 34.9  m/s (78 mph, 126 km/h). These winds blew sand about 7 cm (3 in) deep off the beach and into residents' yards.

Typhoon Ewinar caused a reported 20,000,000 yen ($173,778) worth of sugar cane and vegetable damage, and farmers experienced profit losses when ripe fruits were unable to be shipped to Asian markets.

Seven people were injured in Nanjo from a fallen signboard, while an elderly woman in Nago City and a young girl in Yaese suffered wind-related injuries.

South Korea

Radar image of Severe Tropical Storm Ewiniar near landfall in South Korea
Radar image of Severe Tropical Storm Ewiniar near landfall in South Korea

In South Korea, much damage was reported. 150  km² (60  square miles) of farmland was reported to have been flooded across the nation, while most domestic ferry and air travel was disrupted or cancelled. Landslides and flooding destroyed roads and levees, while in South Cholla province, a landslide damaged a temple. According to an official, floods also damaged over 600 homes and houses.

Rainfall totals varied from province to province. The KMA said up to 234 mm (9.36 inches) of rain had fallen on the southern areas of South Korea, while Hamyang County in South Kyongsang province reported a total rainfall of 199 mm (7.83 inches) to 260 mm (10.2 inches).

About 300 schools were ordered to be closed down in South Cholla, South Kyongsang and on Jeju However, two injuries were reported at a school in Jeju which ignored the orders. Injuries were also reported elsewhere across South Korea, while up to eight people were killed or went missing due to Ewiniar.

North Korea

Due to the secrecy in North Korea, not much information is available on damage caused in the country. However, a TIME Asia report on North Korea noted that Ewiniar left 60,000 villagers homeless.

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