Typhoon Paka (international designation: 9728, JTWC designation: 05C, PAGASA designation: Rubing, also known as Super Typhoon Paka) was the last tropical cyclone in the 1997 Pacific hurricane and typhoon season, and was among the strongest Pacific typhoons in the month of December. Paka, which is the Hawaiian name for Pat, developed on November 28 from a trough well to the southwest of Hawaii. The storm tracked generally westward for much of its duration, and on December 7 it crossed into the western Pacific Ocean. Much of its track was characterized by fluctuations in intensity, and on December 10 the cyclone attained typhoon status as it crossed the Marshall Islands. On December 16, Paka struck Guam and Rota with winds of 230 km/h (145 mph), and it strengthened further to reach peak winds on December 18 over open waters. Subsequently, it underwent a steady weakening trend, and on December 23 Paka dissipated.
Typhoon Paka first impacted the Marshall Islands, where it dropped heavy rainfall and left $80 million in damage (1997 USD, $100 million 2007 USD). Later, it passed just north of Guam, where strong winds destroyed about 1,500 buildings and damaged 10,000 more; 5,000 people were left homeless, and the island experienced a complete power outage following the typhoon. Damage on the island totaled $500 million (1997 USD, $645 million 2007 USD), which warranted the retirement of its name. Paka also caused light damage in the Northern Mariana Islands, and overall the typhoon caused no reported fatalities.
As the weather synoptics of the northern Pacific Ocean transitioned into a late-fall to early winter-type pattern, convection from the monsoon trough extended to the east of the International Date Line. During late November, a westerly disturbance developed into twin troughs on opposite sides of the equator; the one in the Southern Hemisphere ultimately developed into Tropical Cyclone Pam, while the one in the Northern Hemisphere formed into an area of convection about 2000 km (1240 mi) southwest of Hawaii. The disturbance gradually organized as it drifted north-northeastward, and on November 28 it developed into Tropical Depression Five-C about 465 km (290 mi) west-northwest of Palmyra Atoll. Operationally, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) did not begin issuing warnings on the system until December 2.