Typhoon Babs was a powerful typhoon that struck the Philippines (where it was locally known as Typhoon Loleng) just days after Typhoon Zeb hit the same area. The seventh typhoon of the inactive 1998 Pacific typhoon season, Babs formed on October 14 between the Philippines and Guam. The storm moved westward initially, failing to intensify initially due to the outflow from Typhoon Zeb to the northwest. Babs slowed and briefly turned to the south before advancing to the northwest, whereupon it rapidly intensified into a strong typhoon. On October 20, the official Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) estimated peak 10‑minute winds of 155 km/h (100 mph), while the unofficial Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) estimated peak 1‑minute winds of 250 km/h (155 mph), making Babs an unofficial super typhoon. The storm struck the Philippine island of Catanduanes at that intensity and weakened slightly before hitting Luzon. Babs turned northward once in the South China Sea, later weakening due to unfavorable conditions and transitioning into an extratropical cyclone on October 27 in the Taiwan Strait.
|Very strong typhoon (JMA scale)|
|Category 4 super typhoon (SSHWS)|
|Formed||October 14, 1998|
|Dissipated||October 30, 1998|
|(Extratropical after October 27)|
|Highest winds||10-minute sustained: 155 km/h (100 mph) |
1-minute sustained: 250 km/h (155 mph)
|Lowest pressure||940 hPa (mbar); 27.76 inHg|
|Fatalities||327 direct, 29 missing|
|Damage||$203 million (1998 USD)|
|Areas affected||Philippines, Taiwan, China, Japan|
|Part of the 1998 Pacific typhoon season|
Damage was heaviest where Babs first made landfall along the Philippine island of Catanduanes. Torrential rainfall rose waters by 9 m (30 ft) along a river, which inundated houses up to their roofs. Heavy rainfall affected much of Luzon and the northern Philippines, causing widespread flooding and landslides that isolated towns. Strong winds, peaking at 260 km/h (160 mph) in Virac, Catanduanes, left widespread areas without power. There was also heavy crop damage, with 222,882 tonnes of rice destroyed. Babs damaged or destroyed 403,623 houses in the Philippines, with overall damage estimated at ₱6.787 billion (Philippine peso, $159 million United States dollars); the typhoon also killed 303 people. Later, the storm's high waves injured surfers in Hong Kong. Heavy rainfall affected Fujian, causing ¥280 million (Chinese yuan, $58 million USD) in damage and five deaths. Torrential rainfall in Taiwan, reaching 1,306 mm (51.4 in) in Yilan City, flooded towns and caused landslides; there were three deaths on the island. The remnants later affected the Japanese island of Okinawa with rainfall and high waves.