Editor's note: Hurricane Patricia is the strongest storm on record by wind speed, hitting 201 mph before making landfall. Typhoon Tip in 1979 set the record for the lowest barometric pressure with 870 millibars. We've clarified an earlier post that characterized Hurricane Patricia as the strongest storm ever recorded. - Jimmy
A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops in the western part of the North Pacific Ocean between 180° and 100°E. This region is referred to as the Northwestern Pacific Basin, and is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth, accounting for almost one-third of the world's annual tropical cyclones. For organisational purposes, the northern Pacific Ocean is divided into three regions: the eastern (North America to 140°W), central (140° to 180°W), and western (180° to 100°E). The Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclone forecasts is in Japan, with other tropical cyclone warning centers for the northwest Pacific in Honolulu (the Joint Typhoon Warning Center), the Philippines and Hong Kong. While the RSMC names each system, the main name list itself is coordinated among 18 countries that have territories threatened by typhoons each year. The Philippines use their own naming list for systems approaching the country.
Within the northwestern Pacific there are no official typhoon seasons as tropical cyclones form throughout the year. Like any tropical cyclone, there are six main requirements for typhoon formation and development: sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures, atmospheric instability, high humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere, enough Coriolis force to develop a low pressure center, a pre-existing low level focus or disturbance, and low vertical wind shear. The majority of storms form between June and November while tropical cyclone formation is at a minimum between December and May. On average, the northwestern Pacific features the most numerous and intense tropical cyclones globally. Like other basins, they are steered by the subtropical ridge towards the west or northwest, with some systems recurving near and east of Japan. The Philippines receive the brunt of the landfalls, with China and Japan being impacted slightly less. Some of the deadliest typhoons in history have struck China. Southern China has the longest record of typhoon impacts for the region, with a thousand-year sample via documents within their archives. Taiwan has received the wettest known typhoon on record for the northwest Pacific tropical cyclone basin.