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Super Typhoon Dot (international designation: 8522, JTWC designation: 21W, PAGASA name: Typhoon Saling) was the only super typhoon of the 1985 season, with maximum wind speeds of 150 knots (175 mph or 280 km/h) at peak intensity. Dot is also the sixth-most intense tropical cyclone in terms of wind speed to affect Bicol Regionmarker, Philippinesmarker between 1947 and 2004.

Meteorological history

A tropical disturbance in a trough was first detected 150 nautical miles (280 kilometres) southeast of Ponapemarker on October 11. Moving west-northwest, the system reached tropical storm intensity on October 13 south of Guammarker, and was named Dot.

Continuing its track towards the west, it attained typhoon status north of Yapmarker late on October 14. Continuing to move west-northwestward at a nearly-constant 12 knots, it rapidly intensified on October 15, with the minimum sea-level pressure of the storm deepening 66 millibars in 23 hours - a rate of a drop of 2.8 mb/hour (in comparison, Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, the most intense Atlantic storm ever recorded, deepened at a rate of 3 mb/hour at one point). This rapid deepening caused problems with the JTWC's intensity forecasts, and by the end of the day Dot had been upgraded to a super typhoon (winds above or equal to 130 knots).Dot maintained super typhoon strength until just before its first landfall on the Philippinesmarker on the 18th, crossing Luzonmarker without ever losing typhoon intensity. Once back in open water of the South China Seamarker, Dot reintensified, peaking at 90 knots south-southwest of Hong Kongmarker.

Weakening, Dot scraped the southern Hainanmarker coast before making its final landfall in the former North Vietnam 130 nautical miles (240 km) south of Hanoimarker. Dot then dissipated over mountains while inland.

Peculiarities

Dot had several distinguishing characteristics, mainly the small size of the area of intense convection. Also of note was the small radius of maximum winds, and the lack of a low-level monsoon inflow.

While there were no difficulties in forecasting Dot's track, its sudden intensity increase on October 15 caused problems with the JTWC's intensity forecasting technique, due to the lack of airplane reconnaissance data.

Preparations, impact and aftermath

Super Typhoon Dot caused all United States military installations in the Philippines to be placed in a Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1 and made an evacuation of Clark Air Basemarker and Cubi Point NAS necessary. Ships in Subic Baymarker were also moved. Philippine Airlines cancelled domestic flights out of Manilamarker and moved its planes out of the storm's path to Mactan Islandmarker. While the airport remained open, twelve international flights were cancelled. Residents were told to remain indoors, and schools cancelled classes.

Typhoon Dot near peak intensity
In all in the Philippines, Dot left 101 people dead and affected more than 1 million people, and left behind over $68 million (1985 USD) in damage. However, this figure is considerably limited due to Dot's small size. Floods resulting from Dot affected some 90,000 square kilometres of land. On Hainan, floods were triggered in the wake of Super Typhoon Dot, which also left two dead on the island. More than 2300 houses also collapsed from Dot's winds.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Dot in the Philippines, UNICEF was asked to provide water-purifying tablets. The Philippine Red Cross, Philippine government, local authorities and civic organisations provided relief assistance in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Appeals were made for up to US$1.4 million for reconstruction, although the Philippine government did not submit a request for international aid.

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