2018 West Pacific Tropical Season Summary: Part 1 of 2 – January through July
January 11, 2019
Between March and May, most meteorological agencies in the region predicted a near normal to above normal 2018 Tropical Season for the West Pacific Basin. On average, this basin sees 26.6 tropical storms and typhoons per year according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The first cyclone of the season (Tropical Depression 01W) actually formed in late 2017 and continued through the first 4 days of January 2018. Sanba (02W) formed almost a month after 01W becoming the season’s first tropical storm. Almost a month after Sanba dissipated, Jelawat developed and became the first typhoon and super typhoon of the season. June became an active month with several tropical storms developing across the basin. However, the most notable system was Typhoon Prapiroon, which became the first typhoon to impact the Korean Peninsula since 2013. July remained active with the season’s second super typhoon developing in Maria. Also of note was Tropical Storm Hector which became the first system since Genevieve in 2014 to cross the International Date Line.
A tropical depression formed on March 24 south of the Mariana Islands. This depression would ultimately strengthen to a typhoon across the Philippine Sea and briefly as a super typhoon March 29-30. Jelawat became the first super typhoon of the season and one of the most intense typhoons this early in the year since the 1970s.
An active July saw the development of Super Typhoon Maria which reached said strength on July 6. Maria would peak in intensity across the Philippine Sea and eventually make landfall across eastern mainland China as a typhoon on July 11.
By the end of July, Japan had seen two typhoons impact the home islands. On average, 2.6 typhoons per year have made landfall on the four major islands of Japan since 1951. Typhoons Prapiroon, Jongdari were the first two typhoons to impact Japan in 2018. Additional typhoons would impact Japan and far eclipse the annual average in August and September. These typhoons will be covered in Part 2 of this summary.
**Note: This tropical summary follows Cyclone classifications given by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.**