Typhoon Lupit on Course to Hit Philippines; Rick Continues to Weaken

October 21, 2009

Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide warns that the Philippines are bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Lupit. The storm is located about 800 kms (500 miles) east of northern Luzon island and is moving west at approximately 15 kph (9 mph) “along a subtropical steering ridge.” Lupit packs maximum sustained winds of 160 kph (98 mph), making it a Category 2 storm, and is expected to reintensify to a weak Category 3 storm prior to landfall.

The Philippines are still recovering from Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma, which hit the same area earlier this month. Lupit is poised to “strike the rain-soaked country this Thursday,” said AIR. “According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s 15:00 UTC advisory, It is forecast to turn toward the southwest before making landfall on Thursday just after 12:00 UTC (8:00 PM local time) on northern Luzon’s Cagayan province, with sustained maximum winds of 175 kph (110 mph).”

Dr. Peter Sousounis, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, explained: “Lupit (locally called ‘Ramil’) will be the third storm to hit Luzon is less than a month, and the soil in many areas remains saturated. The local meteorological agency, PAGASA, expects torrential rainfall of 20 to 25 mm per hour [between 3/8 and ½ inches] for up to six hours and has placed several provinces on high alert, including Isabela, Cagayan, Batanes, and the Babuyan and Calayan islands.

“Ketsana and Parma, which struck on September 26 and October 3, respectively, destroyed tens of thousands of homes,” Sousounis continued. “Lupit’s wind speeds are expected to be higher than those in these previous storms. While newer buildings in the area are constructed of concrete and masonry materials, residential construction is dominated by traditional materials including bamboo with thatched roofs, making them highly vulnerable to both wind and water damage. Cagayan province, which is expected to be the hardest hit by flooding, is an important agricultural region.”

Ketsana and Parma caused approximately $390 million in crop damage, according to government officials.

AIR’s bulletin also noted that Hurricane Rick, which is approaching Baja California, “has weakened to tropical storm strength with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph [See also IJ web site – https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2009/10/20/104634.htm ]. As of the National Hurricane Center’s 5:00 AM PDT advisory, Tropical Storm Rick is located about 240 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The storm is traveling slowly to the north-northeast at about 6 mph and is expected pick up forward speed as it makes a turn to the northeast, passing close to the southern tip of Baja California early Wednesday morning.”

Source: AIR Worldwide ~ www.air-worldwide.com

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